HC Deb 05 July 1897 vol 50 cc1108-9

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the 6th Section of the Irish Judicature Act (40 and 41 Vict., c. 57), which provided that the the number of the then existing Common Law Judges in Ireland should be reduced from 12 to 10 in certain events, which have since happened, thus by implication fixing the number for the future at 10; and whether, seeing that since the death of the late Mr. Justice Harrison nearly two years ago, there has been only nine such Judges, and since the recent promotion of Mr. Justice Holmes only eight, he will explain what legal authorisation there is for the delay in filling up the vacancy so created nearly two years ago?


The statute referred to did not make it imperative on the Government to appoint a Judge immediately on the occurrence of the vacancy in the Judicial Bench. The vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Justice Harrison was not filled up in view of the intention of the Government to legislate on the subject of the Judicial Bench in Ireland.


I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that no one in Ireland is opposed to the reduction in the number of Judges except the lawyers?


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he his aware that during the present law sittings in Dublin the Court of Queen's Bench and the Nisi Prius Court have had on more than one occasion to adjourn their Courts for want of Judges, to the great inconvenience and delay of the suitors, also in consequence of both the Lords that, in consequence of both the Lords Justices of Appeal in Ordinary having to go circuit, the sittings of the Court of appeal in Ireland will be practically suspended during the month of July, thereby necessitating the postponement of important appeal cases to the next November sittings; and, whether he can now be good enough to state On what day the Bill for reducing the Trish Justiciary will be introduced into this House?


My attention has been directed to the statements of the learned Judges in reference to the matters mentioned in the Question. I am not aware that any similar complaints have been previously made. It is proposed to introduce the Bill under the Standing Order at the commencement of public business on Monday next.