§ MR. WEIR () Ross and Cromarty
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the 1213 Colonies whether he is aware that the Order in Council, under which the Governor of Malta declared under Proclamation on 22nd March, 1899, that Her Majesty's Government had decided that the English language should be substituted for the Italian as the language of the Courts of Law in Malta on the expiration of fifteen years from that date, has caused dissatisfaction amongst the elected members of the Council of Government of Malta as well as amongst the population; and whether, under these circumstances, he will consider the expediency of taking measures under which the Order in Council may be rescinded, or, failing this proposal, will he arrange to have the Order in Council so modified that it will be optional for litigants in the Maltese Courts of Law to have trials conducted in the Italian language when both parties to the suit are agreed on this course.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. BRODRICK,) (for Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN) Surrey, Guildford
(1) The elected members of the Council expressed their dissatisfaction, but I have no reason to suppose that there is any widespread feeling among the population of Malta. (2) I am not prepared to alter my decision in the matter, but I may point out that the announcement is only to take effect in fifteen years, and if it is then found that the convenience of the people will be served by allowing the joint use of Italian, the matter might reasonably be reconsidered at that date.