§ 1. "That a sum, not exceeding £38,182, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for the Salaries of the Law Officers' Department; the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the Solicitor for the Affairs of Her Majesty's Treasury, Queen's Proctor, and Director of Public Prosecutions; the Costs of Prosecutions, of other Legal Proceedings, and of Parliamentary Agency,"—
§ MR. J. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
said, he should move to reduce the item 534 for the Law Officers' Department by the sum of £100, as a protest against the present system of remunerating the Law Officers of the Crown partly by salary and partly by fees. The system adopted by the present Government of paying the Law Officers a certain sum, and in consideration of the comparative smallness of that sum, permitting them to charge fees for contentious Government business, was open to great objection. Under the late Government the Law Officers were paid wholly by salary; they did the whole of the Government business for that salary, and that course was more satisfactory in every way. [Cries of "Divide!"] Besides, if the Law Officers charged fees, who fixed the amount of those fees? And who decided when fees were to be charged or not? There were cases sometimes in which the presence of the Law Officers might not really be needed, but if they chose to appear they would, under the present arrangements, get the fees. He objected to this system especially as a Scotch Member, because the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland had fixed salaries and were not paid anything in respect of fees for contentious business. Why should there be different rules affecting this matter in England and Scotland?
§ DR. CLARK
in supporting the Motion said, the position was unsatisfactory. The Law Officers of the Crown in the various countries held their positions under various tenures. He thought there was a great deal to be said for allowing the Law Officers to take private practice if they had time at their disposal after the discharge of their public duties. It would at least keep up their knowledge of the law. [Laughter.] But it was a grievance to Scotland that after paying their own legal officers they should help to pay a portion of the salaries of the English officers, and he would, therefore, support his hon. Friend in the Division Lobbies.
§ Question put, "That '£38,182' stand part of the Resolution."
§ The House divided:— Ayes, 148; Noes, 39.—(Division List No. 134.)
§ Resolution agreed to.535
§ 2. "That a sum, not exceeding £23,900, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for certain Miscellaneous Legal Expenses."
§ 3. "That a sum, not exceeding £204,534, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for such of the Salaries and Expenses of the Supreme Court of Judicature as are not charged on the Consolidated Fund."
§ Resolutions agreed to,