HC Deb 30 July 1888 vol 329 cc735-6

asked the President of the Local Government Board, If he knows how such a heavy bill of costs was sanctioned as occurred in the case of Mrs. Sarah Burge, now a pauper in the workhouse, Poplar; and, if these costs were defrayed by the ratepayers?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

I have made inquiry on this subject, and I find that there is not, nor has there been, any pauper in the Poplar Workhouse named Sarah Burge. The case intended to be referred to is, no doubt, that of Frank Burge, respecting whom the hon. Member put a Question to me on a previous occasion. As I then stated, this man brought an action against four of the Guardians of the Poplar Union for maliciously refusing to allow him to leave the workhouse. At the trial he was non-suited by Mr. Justice Denman, who decided that there was no evidence to go to the jury, and this decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The costs of the Guardians were, of course, increased by the appeal, and altogether they amounted to £355 10s. 8d. The Guar- dians paid the costs out of the rates; and, as the Local Government Board considered that the individual Guardians against whom the action was brought ought not to have to defray these expenses out of their own pockets, they sanctioned the payment which had been made. The defendants would have been awarded costs by the Court had not Burge sued in formâ pauperis.