Motion made, and Question proposed.
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £7,170, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1893, for Land Charges, England.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
said he certainly should divide against this Vote. In his opinion there was no Department with which the public were less acquainted than the administration of the law as carried on by the Law Officers, and it was a Department that required to be very carefully watched. The reorganisation, while it was one of the most plausible, was perhaps the most unbusiness-like, the most extravagant, and the most hypocritical he had ever known. He had no wish to attack his hon. Friend the Attorney General (Sir Charles Russell). In the debates which led to this reorganisation he was bound to say the Attorney General took no part, and he was willing to admit that the Attorney General was actually a loser by the new system. The Attorney General, at any rate, was shut out, under an arrangement which he hoped would soon be done away with by creed from attaining the highest office of the profession. It was clear to him that the Solicitor General was going to benefit a great deal more than the Attorney General by this reorganisation, and they 73 were going to have this anomaly—that the salary of the Solicitor General would be higher than that of the Attorney General. He had complaints particularly of the Solicitor General, because he was new to the office, and had no kind of prescriptive right as the Attorney General had. The Government could have struck their own bargain with the Solicitor General, but they would not do so. There were many Members of the Bar in that House who would have been perfectly willing to take the office on more reasonable terms. He objected to all reorganisations; but this one had special disadvantages of its own. They bad two sets of officers—those who were permanently employed by the State, and those who were only temporarily employed. They had worse than that—some of the officers were to be wholly paid by the State, and some were partly paid by the State and partly from private sources. They would thus have the confusion between public and private work, and they would never know how much was to be given to public work. He did not say there had been any jobbery; but it was evident there was a fair opportunity for jobbery in this new Department. There was no limit of age. There was no limit to length of service. There was no qualification for the clerks in the Department. It was true that two of them must satisfy the Civil Service Commissioners, but special exemption was given when they were appointed by the Attorney General. Of the four clerks appointed, he should like to ask how many had been clerks of the Attorney General or his Colleague? He was told that one was a man who for some time had been keeping the Records of the Department, and who had now an ex-clerk of the Attorney General's put over his head; and that three were ordinary clerks of the Law Officers of the Crown. What was the explanation of this unbusiness-like procedure? The Treasury Minute gave two reasons, neither of which would hold water. The first was that it was to establish, as far as possible, a uniform practice in the manner in which papers were submitted to and dealt with by the Law Officers. He should have thought submitting papers was the work of the Public Departments, which had legal staffs of their own. As to the manner in which they were dealt with, that was 74 a matter for the Law Officers to settle with their ordinary clerks. The second reason given was that it was necessary to insure a complete record of the opinions given by successive Law Officers of the Crown. During the last 10 years the law officers had engaged a man whose duty it had been to keep such a record, Mr. Abbs, who thoroughly understood the work, who was first paid £150 and then £300 a year; and now it was said a clerk of one of the Law Officers was to be put over his head to do the work. The work had been done and the law officers bad paid for it; but the public would pay for it in the future. What were the pleas under which the law officers claimed to have their clerks paid for? There must be some confusion in the Estimates, because the salaries asked for were salaries for clerks engaged in non-contentious business, in addition to the fees paid to the law officers of the Crown when they were engaged in contentious business and fees were paid to their clerks, so that the salaries paid to the clerks did not include contentious business, and must be confined entirely to non-contentious business. The Treasury Minute of December 5th, 1892, stated that the salaries paid to the law officers of the Crown should include all clerks' fees in business other than contentious business. Why were they to pay twice over—once in the salaries of the Law Officers, and once by a separate Department? It seemed as if there had been some bargaining between the date of the Treasury Minute in December, 1892, and January 12th, 1893, when another Treasury Minute was issued. One argument for paving the salaries of these clerks was that they would be losers, owing to the fact that the law officers would have lost private practice in the future. As a matter of fact, the fees of the clerks varied very much with the fees paid to their employers. He thought the Law Officers might have made up to their clerks for any loss they sustained. Assuming they were not prepared to do it, he would point out that with regard to all future Law Officers this was one of the bargains that ought to be struck with them. No doubt the present Attorney General, who had held the office before, had a prescriptive right not to be a loser on being re-appointed. Even then it would be only a temporary arrangement, for a permanent 75 arrangement ought not to be made simply of a small temporary loss in the case of the present Attorney General. After all the great argument in favour of the change was that given in the Treasury Minute of the 15th of December, which fixed the remuneration of the law officers of the Crown, and limited the business in which they might appear as counsel for private clients. Certainly they ought to adopt one of two systems —either they ought to adhere to the old system, in which the Law Officers were allowed to engage in private practice side by side with their public work; or they must go on a new principle altogether, abolish private practice, and require the law officers to devote all their time to the service of the State. That would be logical. But the principle now adopted was wholly illogical. It had all the faults of the old system and several new faults besides. He did not want to cut down the salaries of Law Officers to a ridiculous extent. They ought to get the best men and to pay them well. But during the last 11 years the salaries and fees of the Law Officers, exclusive of private practice, had amounted to more than the salary of any officer of State. The salary and fees of the Attorney General had averaged £11,000 a year— twice as high as the salaries of the Prime Minister and of the Secretaries of State, and much higher than the salaries of Ambassadors and Judges, and even of the head of the profession, the Lord Chancellor himself. This was an enormous price to pay for services which were coupled with private practice. The system had been discussed in the House and condemned, and the heaviest condemnation had come from Gentlemen now sitting on the Treasury Bench. He could quote one hon. Gentleman who was absent, but he would not do so. He would say, however, that the hon. Member the Under Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. S. Buxton) initiated a Debate three or four years ago, and contended that the Law Officers ought to abandon private practice altogether. He could quote—for he saw him present—the present President of the Local Government Board (Mr. H. H. Fowler), who spoke strongly and ridiculed the idea that they were to pay the Law Officers higher salaries if they abandoned private practice, which they might not regain when they gave up office. The right hon. 76 Gentleman ridiculed that idea then. Did he still do so? The right hon. Gentleman did not contradict the statement, and he did, therefore, hold the same view. He would ask him if he still held another view, which he had expressed very distinctly, namely, that not only should the Law Officers of the Crown give up their private practice, but give the whole of their time to the work of the country for the salaries and fees they were drawing. If that was the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman now, as it was then, and he (Mr. Hanbury) believed that it was, because if the right hon. Gentleman was notable for anything it was for his consistency—he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would vote with him to-day. What was the position of the Law Officers under this new arrangement? In the first place, they got their old salaries. There was no doubt about that, although there was in the last Government an Attorney-General who distinctly said it was his opinion that if clerks had to be found to carry on the record work, to which he (Mr. Hanbury) had alluded, the salary of the Attorney General ought to be cut down in proportion. The clerks were now being provided out of the public purse, yet the salary of the Attorney General had not been reduced by one sixpence, as the hon. and learned Gentleman's predecessor had suggested. As to the question of fees, the fees of Attorneys General during the past 11 years had averaged over £5,000 a year; and this, added to the salary of £7,000 a year, brought up the Attorney General's total emoluments from salary and fees to £12,000 a year. That was what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton had said would be ample, if the Attorney General gave up the whole of his time to the public service. But what was going to happen now? The Attorney General was to give up a certain portion of his time to the public service, and the result would be that he would get more contentious business on behalf of the Crown. The Attorney General distinctly bargained that this should be the case, according to the rule laid down in the Treasury Minute. He held that whenever the Attorney General desired to engage in a case a brief should be given him for it.
§ MR. HANBURY
said that was not new, but at any rate the hon. and learned 77 Gentleman would have a great deal more time to engage in this business, and the chances were he would have a great many more eases. When the Attorney General had private practice he would not care to take up too much public business. He (Mr. Hanbury) did not lay so much stress on the quantity of this work the Attorney General would have to do as on the increased fees which would be paid for doing that work. What was the difference in the position of the Attorney General as to fees under the old Treasury Minute of 1889, and the new Minute? It was a remarkable one, and he should hardly like to put, it into figures. The old Minute, which was in existence up to the 5th December 1892, fixed a maximum fee, but under the new Minute there was no maximum. That was entirely swept away, which in itself appeared a suspicious circumstance. Apart from the maximum, what was the principle on which the Attorney General was to be remunerated? The Law Officers received fees—according to the ordinary professional scale of fees which a Queen's Counsel of average standing in the profession might properly accept from a private client, subject to the maximum fee of 150 guineas brief fee and 30 guineas a day refresher.The main difference between the old and the new system was that in the future the fees paid to the Law Officers would not be such as a Queen's Counsel of "average standing" might accept, whatever "average standing" might mean Fees, as everybody knew, varied very much. The Treasury Minute rather implied that fees above those which would be given to a Queen's Counsel of average standing had been paid to the Law Officers in the past, but that he (Mr. Haubury) should rather doubt. He hoped the Treasury officials had kept an eye over the matter better than that, and that the fees paid to the Attorney General had only been such as would have been paid to a Queen's Counsel of average standing. The Attorney General kicked against that, no doubt. He wished to be paid in future, not the fees that would be paid to an average Queen's Counsel, but the fees that a private client would have to pay Sir Charles Russell, Q.C., if he went into Court to plead. The difference would be very considerable. No doubt if paid according to merit, the fees of the present Attorney General would be considerably more than those of an "ave- 78 rage" Queen's Counsel, and if the Treasury put a high assessment on the right hon. Gentleman's services, no doubt, they would be quite right in doing so. But his point was that the Treasury had no right to be called upon to assess the Attorney General's services in that way. It was unnecessary, and looking at the high salary paid, looking at the amount of practice allowed, and at the fact that £1,300 a year was asked for clerks, the Attorney General might in the future be content with the smaller fee allowed to a Queen's Counsel of "average standing." He would put it to the hon. and learned Gentleman whether this difference would not represent an addition of some £3,000 or more to the fees of the Attorney General. What would be the advantage to the State under such circumstances of the Law Officers giving up private practice? All the plums were being kept, if this exception was to be made in favour of the House of Lords and the Privy Council—not, he would admit, for the present Attorney General, but for the Solicitor General and future Law Officers. He wanted to know why some exception should not be made in favour of the Attorney General? There was no principle involved in this difference of treatment between the Law Officers. Therefore they were in this position, that while they were requiring the Law Officers to give up private practice they were retaining the plums of that practice for the Solicitor General, and probably for future Law Officers, while, at the same time, the State was paying £1,300 a year for clerks, £3,000 a year in enhanced fees, and was allowing the Law Officers to keep their old retainers. He was not a lawyer, therefore he wanted to know what was the meaning of those last words in the Treasury Minute. Did they moan that the Attorney General and the Solicitor General were only to retain briefs in cases in which they had actually been engaged before they took office, or did they mean that solicitors and others who had retained them in the past would be able to do so in the future in all cases? If the latter were to be the case, the abolition of the right to private practice was a farce, and the net result would be that the Law Officers would have made a very pretty bargain for themselves. They would have retained their own private practice, they would be drawing £3,000, £4,000 or £5,000 a year more 79 in increased emoluments and clerks' salaries. That would be a monstrous thing, and if that was really the state of the case he should press his motion to a division. He had been arguing on special grounds, but on higher public grounds he objected strongly to the new arrangement. It was the fact, he took it, that the Law Officers had clerks who were paid under this Vote. These clerks ordinarily worked for the public, but they might at any time be called upon to assist the Law Officers in their private practice. That, he contended, was a bad principle to introduce into any public Department. Then he strongly objected to the Law Officers being allowed to draw fees, not only in all cases where they were actually present, but in all cases in which they were "expected to attend." When Parliament had the control of the Law Officers of the Crown, it ought to try and break down, and certainly ought not to encourage, a very pernicious state of things in the legal profession by which men were allowed to receive fees for work which they did not do. This practice was thoroughly unfair to the public, and he should do his best to put a limitation to it as altogether contrary to his idea of fair play. The cost of getting justice was enormous, and the Law Courts were practically closed against poor men. The Courts of Appeal were closed against men even of moderate means. The fees paid to some men in the legal profession were out of all proportion to the fees in other professions. They had a most pernicious effect, and were directly contrary to what ought to be the aim of Parliament, namely, to bring law and justice within the reach of the poorest. That was the main ground upon which he moved the reduction of the Vote, and he thought he should be justified in pressing his Amendment to a Division.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Item A, of £770, for Law Officers' Salaries, be reduced by £500"—(Mr. Hanbury).
§ SIR C. RUSSELL
The Committee will perhaps not be surprised if I intervene in this discussion, inasmuch as the Vote relates to the Department which I and my hon. and learned Colleague are closely connected with. I have to thank the hon. Member for his personal courtesy to myself in the discussion, but I must say that one thing surprised me very much, and it was this—knowing as 80 he must know that the Law Officers suffer deprivation of private practice under the new Minute, and that the clerical staff is a consequence of the Minute, he did not give us his views as to the policy of that change.
§ MR. HANBURY
I said one of two things should have been done—either the old practice should have been allowed to continue or private practice should have been abolished altogether. My complaint was that the Minute did neither.
§ SIR C. RUSSELL
It is necessary that the Committee should be reminded of the nature of the great change that has been made, and the minor changes that have followed as a consequence. The great change, in a word, is that, whereas Law Officers were formerly entitled, while attending to the public duties of their department, to continue their private practice, that state of things has been put an end to, and for the future the right of the Law Officers to appear in Court is limited to cases before the House of Lords and before the Privy Council. Now it is no secret to many of my Friends on both sides of the House that personally I was strongly opposed to the change. It has involved a very large pecuniary sacrifice in my own case, and there is no reason why I should not say that. Indeed, my experience in the character of Law Officer is perhaps to some extent unique. I was Law Officer for a little less than six months in a previous Parliament, and during that six months I had to serve my country in my honourable office at a loss of some £2,000 to myself. Instead of gaining anything by being Attorney General, I have lost by it. The hon. Gentleman has said a great deal as to the brilliant pecuniary prospect to the Law Officers under the new Minute, and I only wish it could be realised. But I, Sir, shall be a serious loser. I wish to tell the Committee why I came into the new arrangement. I need scarcely say that my mind was greatly influenced by the honour attaching to my present position. I was further aware that hon. and learned Friends of mine, for whose judgment I had high regard, took an opposite view of this matter to myself. I was aware that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Bury (Sir H. James), who for many years held the office that I have the honour to fill, took the view that it was 81 desirable that Law Officers should be separated from private practice. I knew also that that was the view of Sir Horace Davey, and I also knew, though I learnt it rather late, that that opinion was shared by my present colleague, the Solicitor General. Well, taking all these matters into consideration, and bearing in mind the strong view which had been expressed by the Under Secretary for the Colonies, and still more the view of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, I came in, but I came in reluctantly, to the new arrangement for abandoning private practice. I want the Committee to understand the full consequences that that surrender of private practice entails. The clerks of the Law Officers, who up to the time of this alteration had been earning large salaries—paid, not out of the pockets of the Law Officers, but out of the fees paid by clients according to custom with the briefs delivered — cease to receive that remuneration, and under the new arrangement become clerks of a Public Department of the State. Their business is no longer attending to matters connected with the private practice of the Law Officers, but discharging duties connected with the business of the Department. I ought to have said that one of my strongest reasons against the change was the opinion I held, and an opinion which I have not yet abandoned, that it was very desirable that the Law Officers representing the Government in this House in its legal affairs should be men in actual touch with the Bar, and in the actual practice of the Bar. But, to proceed, when the Minute practically ends the private business of the Law Officers, then the clerks of the Law Officers become, as I have said, clerks to a Public Department. The first question I have to ask was this: Was it to be expected that in addition to the sacrifice of income the Law Officers had made, they should put their hands in their pockets and pay £1,000 or £1,500 a year to the clerks. The Committee will see at once that that would have been a great injustice. The hon. Gentleman opposite has referred to the case of my hon. and learned Friend; the Solicitor General as being capable of being distinguished from my own; but the distinction is not a very marked one. My hon. and learned Colleague, by taking office, loses at one fell swoop three-quarters of a large income, not with stand- 82 ing the practice which he retains in the House of Lords and the Privy Council. Though my practice in those departments is not equal to that of my hon. and learned Colleague, I am in other respects a very considerable loser. The House must, in considering this question of the remuneration of the Law Officers of the Crown, bear one or two facts in mind. When a counsel accepts the position of a Law Officer he is taken away by this Minute from the regular practice of his profession. He is separated from those who have hitherto been his clients, and there is no return in the way of pension secured to him for his loss of income. When the Government to which he belongs goes out of office, it is impossible for him to resume the thread of his practice at once. In the case of every man, I do not care what his position is, a considerable period must elapse before he can resume his former position at the Bar. There is another consideration to be borne in mind. Rightly or wrongly, Ministries are desirous of securing as their Law Officers the most prominent men in their profession. I use the word "prominent" as distinguished from "able," because I do not think that the most prominent men are always the most able men. Far from it. I do not hesitate to say that though Ministries may under the change get thoroughly competent and able men to fill the offices of Attorney General and Solicitor General — all, perhaps, that is wanted—I doubt very much whether they will secure the services of the most prominent men, or in other words, the leaders of their profession. But I go on. Is a staff necessary? I have said what I have to say of the manifest injustice of not only taking three-fourths of the income of the Law Officers away from them, but of asking them to pay out of their own pockets a large sum for a clerical staff. What is the ordinary clerical staff? A minimum of three clerks. First, there is the Clerk to the Law Officer, then there is a junior Clerk, and in addition there is the third Clerk to whom the hon. and learned Member has referred—a very worthy young man. Does the hon. Member know that Mr. Abbs has been from the first a salaried clerk paid by successive Law Officers? It will take the House by surprise to learn that in connection with the Department of Law 83 Officers there has not been, up to the issue of this recent Minute, one single clerk paid for by the State as a permanent clerk. That is an extraordinary state of things to disclose in connection with a Department certainly not the least important in the public affairs of this country. I would state to the House what is the range of business over which that Department of the Law Officers extends. I do not think hon. Members have any adequate idea of it. I am referring to it not for the purpose of exaggerating any claim the Law Officers may have in the matter, but as pointing to the necessity for having a clerical staff. In the first instance, the Law Officers are the legal advisers to the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, the Home Office, the India Office, the Privy Council, the Treasury, and the Solicitors to the Treasury. In addition to that the Attorney General has his own particular burden and responsibility, the advising and direction of the Public Prosecutor and the Queen's Proctor. If you add to that the large amount of contentious business in which the Crown is necessarily from time to time engaged, you will, I think, see that a staff of three clerks to attend to the order and regularity of the business involved in these various Departments is an exceedingly limited staff if the work is to be adequately done. The chief clerk of the Attorney General, now the permanent clerk, fills a position of very great responsibility. It is a position that requires to be filled, not merely by a man of experience in this particular Department of work, but by a man in whom implicit confidence can be placed. The very enumeration of the wide area over which the duties of the Law Officers range would, I think, suggest to hon. Members opposite the great extent of the work that has to be done. First of all they have to keep an accurate record of the papers received, showing how they are dealt with, when returned, and to whom sent, and they have to keep a record of the opinions, or drafts of opinions, which have been written by the Law Officers, or for the Law Officers, in relation to those papers. My hon. Friend says the record is already correctly kept. I beg to assure him that that is not so. A record is kept at present in a book of the opinions given 84 by the Law Officers to the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office, but there is no such record of their opinions with reference to any other Department. The only Record Report is a record of the bare fact that an opinion was expressed on such a subject. The draft opinions are kept in a pigeon-hole with a bundle of papers containing the notes of the Attorney General or Solicitor General's "devil," as he is called. I have established a system which will provide for a proper record being kept, together with a copy of all the opinions given by the Law Officers. There are separate solicitors in connection with several of the Government Departments, and it has happened in the past, to the great inconvenience of some of the Departments, that an opinion given to the solicitor of one Department was not made known to the solicitor of another Department, although it was of equal importance to the latter. I have established a system under which in future opinions of general interest will be communicated not only to the solicitor of the Department from which the request for an opinion emanated, but to all the Departments. Much work of a merely clerical character has to be done in the office, and there is a considerable amount of correspondence involved in these various business transactions, in making engagements for meetings respecting the contested business which has to be done by the various Departments, and so on. In addition to all this, the patent business, of which Mr. Abbs, who was first appointed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir H. James), has charge, often makes a considerable demand upon the time of those employed. If the hon. Member (Mr. Hanbury) thinks the Patent fees ought to be applied in payment of Mr. Abbs's services, I may say that those fees, which I believe are more than enough to discharge the Law Officers' salaries, now go into the Treasury, and not one penny of them is received by the Law Officers.
§ MR. HANBURY
I understand that the Law Officers were responsible in the old days before the Patent Act was passed for the Patent business, and that Mr. Abbs did the work for them. I understand that the Law Officers do not do that work now.
§ SIR C. RUSSELL
My hon. Friend is mistaken; they do the work now. 85 Well, I think I have given the Committee sufficient reason for thinking that the clerical establishment, which an ordinary leading counsel in full practice thinks it necessary to maintain, is not an excessive staff' for the office of the Attorney General. I, myself, have appointed the Chief Clerk. After him comes Mr. Abbs, who has chiefly been concerned with the Patent business, with which he is thoroughly acquainted, but who has also to a large extent assisted, in the general work. These are the only two permanent clerks. The third clerk is not permanent at all. He is not a Civil servant, and is merely in receipt of a sum, in the case of the Attorney General's clerk, of £250 a year, which begins when the appointment begins, and ends when the appointment ends. This payment is made under the new system, because of the large part the Attorney General takes in the contentious legal business of the Government. I come now to the personnel of the staff. I do not associate my hon. Friend opposite with what I am going to mention. I have been told that in a perfectly respectable political paper there lately appeared a question as to whether it would be consistent with Parliamentary usage to interrogate the Attorney General as to the nationality, politics, and, I think it was added, religion of the Chief Clerk he has appointed. Well, has political controversy fallen quite so low as that? I am in a position to give an answer on all these points. [Cries of "No."] Well, I do not think there is any Member of the legal profession in this House who does not know the man I have appointed, and I do not think there is a man who knows him who does not respect him. It was a surprise to me that my clerk accepted the position at all. His salary was much nearer £900 than £500 a year, and I think the only reason why he accepted the position of Chief Clerk was that it gave him a permanent status as a member of the Civil Service. He has been in my service, and in the most confidential relations with me, for the last fifteen years. He is a thorough gentleman in every sense of the word, and a man who brings to the office the qualities which the office requires. The second clerk is Mr. Abbs, a younger man, whose ability I do not undervalue. My hon. Friend is wrong in saying that his salary was 86 £300 a year. He was in receipt of a salary of £260 a year, which the Law Officers between them contributed. As regards the third clerk—I had, of course, to appoint another clerk in my own permanent service—he will continue to be my clerk when I leave office; and I may say, as regards the Chief Clerk, that it will be my loss that we shall be unable to resume our former relations when I leave office. I have little more to say, except to draw attention to one or two minor points the hon. Member has made. He complains that there is no limit as to the age with the clerks, and so forth. These gentlemen have, as a matter of fact, to satisfy the Civil Service Commissioners that the case is one in which a dispensation from the ordinary examinations should be given. Does the hon. Member know that the same thing exists in the case of other persons—as, for instance, clerks of the learned Judges—who are paid salaries, not by the Judges, but by the State, and who are in the same way dispensed from any examination? Then the hon. Member said there was the question of retainers. He seems to think that a retainer from a particular solicitor is a retainer for all time. That is not so. The retainer is the retainer of the client and not the retainer of the solicitor, and therefore the exception mentioned in the Minute merely means that where a counsel has been retained by a particular client before his acceptance of office he is enabled to act for that client in that particular case.
§ MR. HANBURY
Supposing the hon. and learned Gentleman has a retainer from a Railway Company, will he be at liberty to appear in all cases from that Company?
§ SIR C. RUSSELL
Yes; but the number of general retainers is limited. The hon. Member was anxious about the enormous increase of fees that will result from this Minute. I do not hesitate to say that I hope my hon. Friend is right, but I am greatly afraid that he is entirely wrong. I will point out to the Committee the only change which has been made. The old Minute was that the Attorney General and the Solicitor General should receive any fee 87 which any other Queen's Counsel might properly accept.
§ SIR C. RUSSELL
I am giving the substance of it. The only difference made in the new Minute is that each of these officers is to be entitled to such fees as counsel of like standing may be expected to receive. Whether that will have the effect of increasing the fees or not I do not know, but I sincerely hope it will. I want to know this from the Committee: whether, if the Law Officers are entitled to be paid for outside business — if that is admitted — should they, acting for the Crown, be paid on a different and inferior scale to what they would have been paid upon if they had been retained by a private client? I do not think it is the opinion of the Committee that they should. I fail to see why those serving the State should be paid on a lower basis than if they were acting for private clients. I have, perhaps, spoken at greater length than was necessary, but I hope I have given reasons why the Law Officers have not properly been made the subject of the very courteous but rather vehement attack of the hon. Member, and I hope the hon. Member will spare us the necessity of going into the Lobby in defence of our salaries on the present occasion.
§ LORD R. CHURCHILL
It being ten minutes to Seven of the clock, the Chairman proceeded to interrupt the Business.
Whereupon MR. TIMOTHY M. HEALY rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
And the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.