HC Deb 14 March 1884 vol 285 cc1532-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the proceedings at the last Donegal Quarter Sessions, when proceedings were taken by the local landlords against a large number of the Gweedore and other tenants by ejectment for non-payment of one year's rent; whether it is the fact that, under the existing County Court Rules, the costs on the tenants in these cases will be nearly equal to the amount of rent due, owing to the smallness of the holdings; whether he is aware that, though the County Court has jurisdiction in all such cases where the rent does not exceed £100 a year, and no matter how many years rent is due, the costs against the tenants are the same, no matter how small the rent, the minimum cost of a decree being £2 10s. 10d.; whether it is the fact that the fixing of the scale of costs in such cases is in the hands of the Lord Chancellor and any five County Court Judges, and that the Lord Chancellor has lately had the scale of costs in County Courts under consideration with a view to its revision; and, whether it is proposed, having regard to cases such as those of the Gweedore tenants, to reduce the costs of decrees in ejectment for non-payment of rent where the rent due is trifling in amount?


Proceedings were taken against a number of tenants in this district, and from the records of the Court it appears that the amount due in each case was two years' rent. Decrees were granted in 40 cases, but on condition that there should be a stay of execution on payment into Court of one year's rent. Thirty-four out of the 40 tenants decreed made this payment and secured the stay of execution. With regard to the amount of costs in such cases, they are fixed by the Lord Chancellor and any five County Court Judges. I am advised that they cover the whole proceeding from beginning to end, and seem to be fixed with great regard to economy. The trouble in a small case is just as much as in a large one, and the amount of the rent is no test of the work to be done. The question of the revision of the civil bill costs has not been before the present Lord Chancellor; but his Lordship informs me that he will be happy to confer with the Chairmen to see if any revision may be proper or practicable.