HC Deb 14 June 1875 vol 224 cc1811-2

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, after the vote given by all the Members of the Government present in favour of the House Occupiers' Disqualification Removal Bill, which purposes to remove an anomaly from the existing Law of Registration, he will undertake to deal with the Law of Registration as a whole, in order to remove other anomalies and to diminish the uncertainty consequent upon the state of the present Law as declared from the Judicial Bench? He begged to quote an opinion of Mr. Justice Byles pronounced in the Court of Common Pleas in 1868, to the effect that— The various existing enactments are such as to expose both. Voters, Revising Barristers, and this Court to many difficulties of construction in which they may be easily entangled. Justices Keating and Brett took a similar view.


Sir, I do not see that because Her Majesty's Government the other night supported the removal of a petty grievance with regard to the law of registration they are logically bound to deal with that law as a whole. I, of course, hear anything that falls from the Bench with great respect, and the opinions of the Judges will always have due influence with me; but I must say that, in my opinion, those learned gentlemen are a little too apt to criticize Acts of Parliament. We must remember the circumstances in which many opinions of that kind are given by the Judges. They sit in courts which are not properly ventilated, and in that respect they are not, perhaps, treated as well as they ought to be by the country. Whatever other influences affect their opinions I know not; but I fear it is a fact that the learned Judges do not treat Acts of Parliament with the respect and decorum which I trust we shall always show towards themselves.