HC Deb 09 July 1874 vol 220 cc1352-3

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to those parts of "The Supreme Court of Judicature Act (1873) Amendment Bill" now before this House, by which judicial decisions in Scotland may be appealed to a new Court to be constituted in Westminster, called "Her Majesty's Imperial Court of Appeal," in violation of Article XIX of the International Treaty negotiated between the two independent Kingdoms of England and Scotland, and afterwards ratified by the Sovereign and the Parliament of both Kingdoms, as follows:— That no causes in Scotland be cognosable by the Courts of Chancery, Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster Hall; and that the said Courts or any other of the like nature, after the union, shall have no power to cognose, review, or alter the acts or sentences of the judicatories within Scotland, or stop the execution of the same; and, whether, when the Bill is in Committee, the right honourable Gentleman will be prepared to propose Clauses by which Scotland will be directly represented in the new court of appeal by the appointment of one or more permanent Scotch Judges as it was represented in the House of Lords, according to the Treaty of Union, by which sixteen Scotch Peers were appointed to seats in that House, being the only competent court of appeal for the trial of Scotch causes? He might supplement the Question by saying that in the first appeal from Scotland after the Union 12 of the Scotch Peers voted.


, in reply, said, with regard to the first part of the Question, the hon. Member assumed that there had been a violation of Article XIX of the Treaty of Union. He must observe that the Judicature Act Amendment Bill did not propose that Scotch cases should be reviewed by the Court of Chancery, the Court of Queen's Bench, the Court of Common Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster Hall, but by an Imperial Court of Appeal sanctioned by Parliament, and constituted in a manner wholly different from any English Court. In reply to the second Question, he had to state that he did not intend to propose, in Committee on the Bill, clauses by which Scotland should be directly represented in the new Court. The great object in appointing members to the new Court would be to appoint men who were calculated to be most efficient, and Scotland would have very much changed recently if she had not a very good chance of a seat. But as to the supposed violation of the Treaty, he would observe that, as a matter of history, the Act of Union did not provide that in Scotch cases the appeal should be to the House of Lords. When the first appeal from Scotland was brought to them, they hesitated whether they should accept it at all. It so happened, however, that the appeals had been heard before the Scotch House of Lords, and it was therefore thought that, by an analogical process, the British House of Lords might hear appeals. With respect to the statement of the hon. Member as to the functions of Scotch Peers in hearing appeals, Her Majesty's Government had not yet discovered when 16 Scotch Peers had been in the habit of deciding Scotch cases.