HC Deb 24 April 1879 vol 245 cc978-9

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether in the year 1876 the Lord Chancellor sent a Circular to the Judges of the County Courts requesting them, when they ordered the prosecution of a bankrupt, to make it part of the Order that the trustees should employ the Solicitor to the Treasury to conduct the prosecution, or, as an alternative— To cause the Registrar to direct the trustee to employ such solicitor, and to inform him that if he employs any other solicitor no costs will be allowed over and above the amount which may be allowed under Section 17 of the 'Debtors' Act, 1869;' and, if so, whether he will state under what authority this step was taken by his Lordship?


In the year 1876 the Lord Chancellor did send a Circular Letter to the Judges of the County Courts containing the request referred to in the Question of the hon. and learned Member. I shall be happy to lay on the Table of the House a copy of this Letter if it is desired. The Debtors' Act, 1869, Section 17, provides that the costs of the prosecution of a bankrupt shall be allowed, paid, and borne as expenses of prosecutions for felony are allowed, paid, and borne. These costs are the only costs which, in strictness, the prosecutor is entitled to; but generally, in prosecutions under the Debtors' Act, there are extra costs, which are in some cases extremely large, and it is obviously impossible for the Treasury to undertake to pay such costs unless it has a control over the conduct of the prosecution. The Treasury cannot have such control unless the prosecution is confided in the Solicitor to the Treasury. The step taken by the Lord Chancellor was taken with the sanction of the Treasury.