HC Deb 14 March 1876 vol 227 cc2015-7

asked the indulgence of the House while he made an explanation with respect to a statement made by the Prime Minister on the previous evening as to the part which he (Mr. Law) had taken with reference to the appointment of a second Judge in the Landed Estates Court in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman was reported to have said that the Government had appointed a second Judge in that Court owing to a very strong expression of opinion in that House, and that he (Mr. Law) and his hon. Fiend the Member for Cork (Mr. M'Carthy Downing) had both spoken in favour of the adoption of that course. So far as he was concerned, that statement was not correct, for he had taken no part whatever in the discussions on the subject save this, that when during the debate on the second reading of the Irish Judicature Bill in July, 1874, reflections were made on the late Government for not appointing a second Judge of the Landed Estates Court he (Mr. Law) had stated, as was the fact, that they had not appointed a second Judge because they had been informed by the surviving Judge that no such appointment was necessary. Now, he did not think that by any stretch of imagination this observation could be regarded as putting any pressure on the Government to appoint a second Judge. The only connection, indeed, which he could be said to have had with the matter was that on the 8th of July, 1874, when he was informed that the Government had determined to make the appointment, he announced it to be his intention to place a Notice on the Paper to amend the Bill then under discussion by transferring to the Landed Estates Court certain business connected with the office of the Receiver Master. It was a mistake to suppose that he had ever tendered such advice as that attributed to him by the right hon. Gentleman, and he was desirous of relieving himself from the charge of inconsistency which such a statement involved.


Perhaps the House will allow me, without formally moving the adjournment, to say a few words, and to give my authority for the statement which I made. I was under the impression that we were urged by several Gentlemen, some of whom sat opposite, to revive the second Judgeship in the Landed Estates Court, and I did mention the name of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Downing). The Bill passed the House of Lords with only one Judge; but when it had been read a second time in this House and was in Committee Mr. Downing gave Notice of an Amendment to the effect that there should be a second Judge. The right hon. and learned Member for Londonderry who has just addressed the House gave Notice that in case that Amendment were carried he should propose that the jurisdiction of the Receiver at the same time the proposal of the right hon. and learned Member. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon), the hon. Baronet the Member for King's County (Sir Patrick O'Brien), and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Kirk), were also in favour of that change, and I considered that I was justified in making the statement I did when I observed that the hon. Member for Cork proposed an absolute Amendment to the effect I have stated, and that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the late Attorney General for Ireland, contingently upon that Amendment being adopted, gave Notice of a proposal which could not be carried out unless a second Judge were appointed.


gave Notice that he would put a Question to the Government as to whether it was true that Judge Flanagan, who for some time was the sole Judge of the Landed Estates Court in Ireland, had stated that one Judge was sufficient to discharge the duties of the Court, and that he himself was quite equal to their performance.


said, he would further ask whether that statement on the part of the Judge was not accompanied by the suggestion that his salary should be increased by £1,000 a-year.