HC Deb 27 July 1874 vol 221 cc763-4

asked, Whether the Government have considered the expediency of proceeding with at least one of the Judicature Bills this Session?


Sir, before we came to a decision on these Bills we gave them all the consideration their importance demanded, and the opinion of Her Majesty's Government was, that it would not be to the public advantage to proceed with one only. They were so drawn and so fitted into each other, that it would have been alike inconvenient and inexpedient to have taken such a course as would have separated them from each other. From the state of Public Business, I believe it would be quite impossible, if we looked to carry both Bills this Session, that we should succeed. Were we to try to do so, I believe the Session would be procrastinated to an extent probably not desired by most hon. Members. As I am on the subject, I may say that some days before we arrived at this decision, the Lord Chancellor had informed me it would be necessary, in consequence of the delay respecting the Rules, to extend the time from the 3rd of November to the 1st of January. That was inevitable; and, of course, that was a circumstance which we took into consideration. Now, it appears to me that if these Bills are reintroduced and subjected to the advantage of a calm, and at the same time energetic and vigorous, discussion, they may be carried next year, and quite in time for the arrangements of the summer Assizes. Therefore, we shall ask for a suspension of the Bill of last year for a term not beyond November, 1875. It is probable that by May next year we shall have brought the matter to a conclusion.


I understand that the Rules have left the hands of the Judges, and have been placed before the Queen. I want to know whether they can be laid on the Table before the end of the Session?


Sir, as my hon. and learned Friend and the House are aware, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act of last Session provided for the Rules being laid on the Table of the House after they had been made by Her Majesty. As no such Rules have as yet been made by Her Majesty, I am unable, in accordance with the sense in which the expression is used in the Act, to lay them on the Table; but, fully appreciating the natural anxiety of the legal profession, and of the public, to become acquainted with the Rules which have been prepared by the Judges, and submitted by them to the Lord Chancellor, I shall be happy to lay a Copy of them on the Table, if my hon. and learned Friend will move for it.

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