§ MR. EDWARD MOON (St. Pancras, N.)
On behalf of the hon. Member for East St. Pancras, Mr. R. G. WEBSTER, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, (1) whether he is in a position, to inform the House the number of days the Judges have been withdrawn from their ordinary duties during the past six months to try election petitions; and (2) if, from this or other causes, the ordinary administration of justice has been retarded?
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
I am not aware of the exact number of days the Judges have been engaged in the trial of election petitions, but I suggest to the hon. Member that when all the petitions have been disposed of he should move for an address for return of the number of days they have occupied. The hon. Member's reference to the ordinary duties of the Judges is somewhat misleading; the trial of election petitions is a part of their ordinary duties, an addition of three having been made to their number many years ago to meet the requirements of these petitions. The answer to the second paragraph of the question is that there has undoubtedly been some interference with the ordinary course of the administration of justice; it became necessary to appoint Commissioners for some of the Assizes to prevent the arrears which would have arisen if more Judges had been withdrawn from the Courts in London.