§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. DILLWYN
thought the House should have some explanation with regard to the great increase in the cost of these buildings.
§ SIR HENRY SELWIN-IBBETSON
said, that the Bill had been introduced to remove certain difficulties that had been experienced in carrying out the Courts of Justice Building Act, 1865. The cost of the buildings was originally estimated at £1,500,000, and that sum was nearly paid by the money voted by Parliament at the time. Afterwards, it was to be paid to the extent of £20,000 by the estimated value of the then existing Courts; partly from a fund belonging to the Chancery suitors, and partly by a tax to be levied on the suitors using the building. Portions of the buildings were now in use, and it became necessary to levy the fees for the use of the building. The fusion of the Court of Chancery in the High Court of Justice had done away with the accuracy of the returns supplied originally, and there was some difficulty as to whether the fees that were now to be raised would have to be levied on a portion of the suitors only, or upon all using the new Courts. The Bill was to remedy these difficulties, and especially those that had been found to arise from the Act of 1865.
§ MR. WHITWELL
remarked, that the Bill gave power to the Lord Chancellor, by his own will, without laying the rules he proposed before Parliament, to raise money by increasing the fees of suitors. That was a very great power to be given, for anyone to have absolute discretion over these fees without consulting Parliament; and it seemed to 226 him, therefore, that the Bill involved a principle of considerable magnitude.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.