HC Deb 04 January 1894 vol 20 cc817-9
MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether the Government will undertake, before the statutory period expires, to move a Resolution disagreeing with such part of the New Rules of the Supreme Court as extends the jurisdiction of the English Courts in Scotland, if no other means are found of securing the necessary alteration?

MR. BEITH (&c.) Inverness,

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has received a resolution from the Town Council of Inverness to the effect that the proposals contained in these New Rules are a breach of the Treaty of Union, are regarded as an insult to the Scotch nation, and are unjust and unnecessary?


I have not received the resolution referred to. My right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate will answer the question of the hon. Member for Fast Aberdeenshire.

* MR. PAUL (Edinburgh, S.)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether the Lord Justice General or any of the Scottish Judges were consulted before the Rules of Court affecting Scotland were issued? I may also ask whether, when a similar set of Rules was promulgated in 1883 by the English Judges, they were not made the subject of communication between himself as Lord Advocate of Scotland and Lord Selborne as Lord Chancellor of England?

MR. T. SHAW&c.) (Hawick,

At the same time, I will ask the Lord Advocate if he can conveniently state to the House the result of his communications with the Lord Chancellor on the subject of the New Rules of the Supreme Court; and what action Her Majesty's Government propose to take in view of the Motion standing on the Paper for an Address by this House to Her Majesty for the annulling of Order XI. of those Rules?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR,&c.) Clackmannan,

It was not intended by the New Rules to extend the jurisdiction of the English Courts in cases in which domiciled Scotsmen and Irishmen are concerned; nor is the Lord Chancellor satisfied that they would so operate. The purpose was to enable a simpler and less expensive procedure to be adopted. As, however, apprehensions have been expressed that they might have a more extended effect, he proposes to summon the Rule Committee for Thursday next, the 11th instant, the first day of the Hilary Sittings, with a view to rescinding Order XI. A new Order can be afterwards made, and laid on the Table of the House next Session, in such amended form as to make it clear that there is to be no extension of jurisdiction. Neither the Lord Justice General, nor any of the other Scottish Judges, were consulted before the Rules were issued, because it was not supposed that they would effect any extension of jurisdiction. In answer to the supplementary question put by my hon. Friend the Member for South Edinburgh, I have to say that in 1883 communications did pass between Lord Selborne and myself with respect to the Rules then proposed to be issued, and that material modifications were made upon the Rules as originally framed, in the direction of giving effect to the representations which I made on behalf of Scotland.


Pending the sitting of the Rule Committee, will Order XI. remain in abeyance?


It will be liable to be annulled upon an address by this House at any time within 40 days on which the House shall have sat, after the Rules were laid on the Table.


I beg to give notice that I shall on January 12 move for an Address by this House to Her Majesty for the annulling of Order XI. of the new Rules of Court and of other Orders, so far as they are a reversal of the existing Order XI. I do this in order that the liberty of this House may be left unimpaired, whatever may be the notion of the English Judges.


If Order XI. is not annulled on January 11, and the House has by then adjourned, will my hon. and learned Friend have an opportunity of moving within 40 days?


I do not think that at present we have any reason to assume that the House will be adjourned by January 12; but if it should, I have no doubt proper steps adapted to the circumstances would be taken.

DR. MACGREGOR (Inverness-shire)

Seeing the difficulties which Scotland is under in getting redress of her grievances, I wish to ask whether the time has not come when Scotland might resume the control of her own affairs?

SIR C. PEARSON (Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities)

May I ask whether some arrangement might not be made so that due notice will be given to some Public Body in Scotland in the case of any future amendments in these Rules, and whether the Lord Chancellor and the Rules Committee will be open to receive any representations from Public Bodies in Scotland which may be sent to them before their meeting next week?


I have no doubt that any such representations will be duly considered.