HC Deb 04 August 1877 vol 236 cc445-7

(The Lord Advocate, Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson.)


Bill, as amended, considered.


said, that when the Bill was in Committee he pointed out that, by transferring the salaries of the judicial officers of Scotland from the annual Votes of Parliament to the Consolidated Fund, the House of Commons would be deprived of all control in reference to these Courts; and he intimated his intention to bring up on the Report an Amendment which would give the House the means of pronouncing an opinion as to the changes which the Secretary of State might make. Accordingly, he had prepared a clause which would, he thought, effect the object he had in view. He submitted, further, that the House of Commons should have the direct means of judging whether the money authorized to be spent under the Bill was a proper expenditure or not.


pointed out to the hon. and gallant Baronet that the Question before the House was that the Bill, as amended, be considered. His Amendment would come more properly when the House came to that part of the Bill to which it was applicable.


moved, in place of Clause 5, omitted, the following clause:—

(Appointment of procurators fiscal vested in sheriffs with approval of Secretary of State.)

From and after the passing of this Act the appointment of procurators fiscal shall be made by the sheriff with the approval of one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, and any procurator fiscal so appointed, and any procurator fiscal holding office at the passing of this Act (save in so far as hereinafter expressly provided) shall not be removable from office except in the manner provided in the fifth section of this Act: Provided always, That no appointment of any procurator fiscal, whether made before or after the passing of this Act, shall fall by reason of the sheriff ceasing to hold office by reason of death, resignation, or otherwise. The appointment of any person to act as procurator fiscal ad interim or in the absence of the procurator fiscal in any sheriff court shall cease and determine from and after the commencement of this Act.


thought that the settlement now proposed was, on the whole, the best settlement which could be suggested, and he, for one, hoped that it might be accepted by the House.

Clause agreed to, and added to the Bill.


next moved, in place of Clause 6, omitted, the following clause:—

(Procurator fiscal may appoint depute with consent of Lord Advocate and Sheriff.)

Except as hereinbefore provided, no sheriff shall have power, after the passing of this Act, to nominate or appoint any person to perform the duties of procurator fiscal; but it shall be lawful for a procurator fiscal, with the leave of the Lord Advocate and Sheriff expressed in writing, to grant a deputation to one or more fit persons to be named in such writing, for whose actings he shall be responsible, to sign writs, to appear in Court, and to conduct prosecutions and inquiries in his name and on his behalf. In the event of a vacancy in the office of procurator fiscal, any depute or deputes appointed in terms of this section shall have and discharge all the powers, privileges, and duties of a procurator fiscal until such vacancy is filled up.

Clause agreed to, and added to the Bill.

Amendment proposed, In page 1, line 14, at end of the Clause, to insert the words " Provided always, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to lay before both Houses of Parliament copies of all orders or directions relating to sheriff Courts of Scotland, or to the duties, the appointments, the residences, the salaries, the fees and remuneration, or other matters affecting the officers and establishments of these Courts, which the Secretary of State may have issued, or may issue, in exercise of any of the powers conferred on him by this or any previous Acts, with a view of enabling either House of Parliament to resolve thereon, as provided for in Clause fifty-four of the Act of the thirty-ninth and fortieth years of Victoria, chapter seventy."—(Sir George Balfour.)

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


proposed, in Clause 7, to leave out "forty," and insert "fifty."


congratulated the Lord Advocate on the small concession which he had seen his way to making, and hoped that next year he might be able to go further in the same direction.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.

House adjourned at half after Four o'clock, till Monday next.