HC Deb 23 April 1896 vol 39 cc1530-1
MR. D. MACALEESE (Monaghan, N.)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, what hour, if any, is fixed by statute for the morning commencement of business in the Belfast County Court and Recorder's Court; is he aware that grave conplaints have been made from time to time by suitors in those Courts, owing to prolonged attendance in waiting to have their cases heard; and, can any arrangement be made to allow the business to be commenced earlier than 11 o'clock a.m.


I beg to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that Mr. David Ross, Q.C., the late Recorder for Belfast, in his time commenced his sittings at 10 a.m., but that hour was found to be so inconvenient to the suitors and solicitors that it had to be altered to 11 a.m.; and whether it was the general opinion that the present Recorder, Judge Fitzgibbon, had invariably made his arrangements to suit the convenience of the suitors and practitioners without regard to his own convenience?


The statute provides that the Court shall not be opened before 10 o'clock. The present Recorder, following the practice of his predecessor, sits at 11 o'clock, and does so to suit the convenience of the legal profession rather than his own. I have not heard of any complaints such as are mentioned in the Question, and having regard to the arrangement made for the dispatch of business, such an amount of work being selected for each day as it is calculated can be disposed of in the day, I think it is impossible that inconvenience such as is complained of can arise from the sitting of the Court at 11 rather than 10 o'clock. I am aware of the statements to which the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Down calls attention.