HC Deb 09 April 1877 vol 233 cc765-6

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Town Commissioners of Wicklow have been recently compelled to pay to Mr. Finlay, the Government auditor, seventeen pounds ten shillings and sixpence for taxed costs, and five pounds three shillings and fourpence, the auditor's charges for lost time, in relation to proceedings before the magistrates of Wicklow for the recovery of a surcharge of three pounds, in which the magistrates refused to order any costs; and, whether he, as a Member of the Local Government Board, has any control over such charges?


I am informed, Sir, that this surcharge of £3 was part of a disallowance of a considerably larger sum made by the Government auditor on the Town Commissioners of Wicklow for the year 1875. It had been illegally paid by the Commissioners to the Chairman for presiding at the election of Town Commissioners. He refused to refund it, but paid it without notice into the bank while the case was being heard by the magistrates. The magistrates in these circumstances did not consider themselves justified in making an order for costs, being probably unacquainted with the provisions of the law which enact that an auditor in such circumstances— shall be paid by the Governing Body all such costs and expenses, including a reasonable compensation for his loss of time, incurred by him in such proceedings, as are not recovered by him from the person against whom the surcharge is made. I think it is clear that the amount of costs incurred in such a case cannot depend on the sum for which the surcharge is made, and it is, I think, also clear that a person in the position of a public auditor ought not to be charged with costs incurred in the execution of his duty. I do not consider that there is any necessity for my interference as a Member of the Local Government Board.