HC Deb 11 July 1890 vol 346 cc1477-8
MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland, whether his attention has been called to the decision of the Judges in a case reserved by Mr. Justice Andrews at the Spring Assizes of 1889, for the County of Down, whereby they decided that the annual salary payable to every Coroner ought to be calculated anew in each year, according to the average amount of fees upon the inquests held by him, or his predecessor in office, during the five years then last past; whether he is aware that it was contended on behalf of the Coroners of Down, that the third section of "The Coroners' (Ireland) Act, 1881," which substituted an annual salary in lieu of the fees formerly paid to Coroners, provided, or was intended to provide, that the annual salary was then to be fixed once for all, on the calculation to be first made after the passing and pursuant to the third section of said Act, and an annual salary, so calculated, was paid to Coroners in Ireland from the passing of the Act up to the time of this decision; and whether, considering that this section of the Act was intended to prevent unnecessary inquests, and that it so operated before the decision of the Judges was given, and considering also that, by this decision, Coroners in Ireland have now a pecuniary interest in holding the greatest number of inquests in every year, he will make inquiry into the matter with the view to have their salaries fixed once for all, as was intended during the passing of the Act?


I have considered the papers which the hon. Member has been good enough to send me bearing upon this question. I am disposed to agree with Slim that the construction which the Judges were compelled to put on the language of the Coroners Act, 1881, is probably at variance with the framers of that Act. I cannot promise to deal with the matter during the present Session, but I hope to consider it during the recess, which is now rapidly approaching.

Forward to