HC Deb 24 April 1873 vol 215 cc899-900

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is aware that, in cases decided by the Lord Chancellor sitting for the Master of the Rolls, the party against whom judgment is to be given is deprived of his right of appeal to an intermediate tribunal; and, when he expects to be able to put an end to this and other inconveniences arising to the suitors from the vacancy in the office of the Master of the Rolls?


in reply, said, there could be no doubt the Lord Chancellor was qualified, according to what he thought was required by the public interest, to hear cases in Chancery either in the first instance or upon appeal, and not long ago it was a very common practice for the Lord Chancellor to hear cases of first instance. It was done by Lord Eldon, and, more or less, by later Lord Chancellors; but more recently the practice had been abandoned because of the increase of the Equity business and of the number of Equity Judges. Undoubtedly, the Lord Chancellor would not have made this arrangement under ordinary circumstances, because, although a suitor who would now get his judgment upon appeal, now got judgment from the same man in the first instance, yet it was rather reverting to a former practice than the continuance of a practice going on from day to day; but his noble Friend (the Lord Chan- cellor) was of opinion there was really a substantial ground why an arrangement of this kind should be made for a short time—no lengthened period—namely, pending the progress of the Supreme Court of Judicature Bill. That was a measure of so much importance, and so much affected the relations of the different Courts, and especially the position of the Court of the Master of the Rolls, that it appeared to him—and the Government concurred with him—that it would be desirable for a short time to suspend the appointment to that Court, and of course to make during the interim the best arrangements that circumstances would permit for carrying on the necessary business.