§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £32,443, be granted to His 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, 1902, for the Salaries of the Law Officers' Department; the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the Solicitor for the Affairs of His Majesty's Treasury, King's Proctor, and Director of Public Prosecutions; the Costs of Prosecutions, of other Legal Proceedings, and of Parliamentary Agency."
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
I believe that under this heading it has been usual to draw attention to the state of business in the Law Courts, and at the present time it is eminently desirable that that should be done. In the first place, the business of the Court of Appeal is unhappily very much in arrear. I do not think that anyone in the profession will dispute that the Court of Appeal commands the confidence of the public in no ordinary degree, and I am sure that those who are familiar with the subject will acknowledge that there is no more hard-worked court in this country. The work is exceedingly heavy. It has been increasing year by year, and it has now come to this pass—I do not think the Attorney General will dispute it—that the court is overwhelmed by a mass of business greater than it can overtake in normal circumstances. Last year I asked a question of the First Lord of the Treasury with regard to the condition of arrears in the court's work, and I invited from him some indication that steps would be taken to deal with the difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman told me that the Lord Chancellor was considering the subject. That, so far as it went, was a satisfactory 1463 piece of information, but I am sorry to say that the consideration has not led to anything at present; indeed, instead of there having been any amelioration of the pressure, the work is heavier now than it was last year. Under these circumstances I think we may fairly regard this as a state of things which promises to be permanent unless steps are taken for the purpose of remedying it. During the last few years the mass of work in addition to that which they had before, and which was already, in my opinion, quite enough, has been something enormous. It is a bad policy to overburden the judges with work in the way that has been done in recent years, and to deprive them of every opportunity of relaxation, or even the time to consider their own judgments and contemporary law. Among the additional burdens which have been cast upon them is the jurisdiction arising from the Workmen's Compensation Act, which has been vested by statute in the Court of Appeal, and which takes up a considerable amount of time. To my thinking it is no longer necessary to impose on the Court of Appeal the duty of deciding these cases. I think also they ought to be relieved of another burden—namely, the appeals which he direct to the Court of Appeal from the decisions of Judges in Chambers. The Court of Appeal consists nominally of six judges, but no allowance is made for infirmity or the possibility of illness, which, of course, occasionally happens, except that the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, and the President of the Probate Division are Members of the court, and may be called upon in case of emergency. But these three learned judges are completely occupied with important business of their own, and it is sometimes impossible to get a full court. That is not a state of things that ought to prevail. You should not place such a stress of work upon judges distinguished for their talent and public spirit, or so great a burden that the arrears are now heavier than they have been for some time past, and are a source of real difficulty in the conduct of legal business. I hope we shall hear from the Attorney General that the Government have got a little beyond the stage of consideration, and, at all events, are really about, in 1464 a short time, to give the public some assistance to remedy this state of matters. That is the first thing I wanted to say.
The second point I will treat much more briefly. It relates to the continued evils or inconveniences arising from the circuit system. That system is a great source of embarrassment to litigants and to the judges themselves. I do not in the least recommend that the judges ought not to go on circuit to try criminal cases as often as possible, because I think the criminal business of the King's Bench Division is of more importance than the civil business. It is of far more importance that the administration of justice in criminal matters should be prosecuted all over the country than that the higher legal acumen should be applied in the civil courts. There is no doubt that in consequence of the extension of civil business great inconvenience has been periodically felt in the administration of criminal business. This is a very old subject of complaint. I am sure I must have referred to it repeatedly in the course of the last four or five years, and I think my hon. friend the Attorney General has also drawn attention to it frequently; but we have never got any forwarder in the matter. The late Attorney General, the present Lord Chief Justice, a year or two ago said there were very grave difficulties, and that they were trying to deal with them. Of course there are grave difficulties, but they have never been met, and we go on from year to year, and from term to term, without anything being done. I do not think I would be in order in making any proposals, but I will hint at one, and that is that the Government should consider whether they could not diminish the work of the King's Bench Division by extending the jurisdiction of the county courts. I cannot enter upon it in detail, but if the Lord Advocate were consulted as to the jurisdiction of the Sheriffs' Courts in Scotland, which is up to £3,000 in land, and unlimited in regard to movable property, I believe we should learn that there is nothing except the ancient obstinacy of the profession here to prevent a large and beneficial extension of the jurisdiction of the county courts in this country being carried out. That is one thing I would suggest. There 1465 is another, and that is that there might be a regrouping and a rearrangement in some way of the circuits. I think that ought to be done. Sometimes judges go round and there are no civil cases to try, and hardly any criminal cases. At other times there are very few and little work to do, and great expense and waste of time are incurred. It appears to me that the Attorney General should stimulate his colleagues to come to some practical conclusion on a matter which has caused great trouble indeed.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
The arrears of work in the Court of Appeal have been referred to more than once, but they are, I trust, due to causes which are not permanent in their operation. My hon. and learned friend seems to apprehend that the causes at work are permanent, but I would remind him that several of the members of the Court of Appeal have recently suffered from illness, and owing to the constitution of that court—there being two divisions with three judges in each—a full court cannot under these circumstances be constituted unless the Lord Chief Justice is able to sit. But we must hope that the recurrence of illness in the future will not be so great as, unfortunately, it has been in recent times. I listened with great pleasure to what my hon. and learned friend said as to the members of that court. There never have been in the Court of Appeal more able or distinguished members, animated by greater public spirit and devotion to their duty. We have just now a very strong Court of Appeal, and its members have endeavoured to the very utmost that in them lay to meet the somewhat embarrassing circumstances which have arisen from causes for which they are, of course, in no way responsible. My hon. and learned friend says that another cause of the delay in the Court of Appeal arises from the fact that further duties have been thrown upon it by the Workmen's Compensation Act and appeals from the decisions of judges in chambers. I understand that the organisation of business in these matters is under consideration, probably with reference to a rearrangement of the King's Bench Division and the constitu- 1466 tion of a strong divisional court; and one feature of any such rearrangement may be to relieve the Court of Appeal from some portion of the business and those extra burdens to which my hon. and learned friend has referred.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
It may be so. I am not at all sure that I am regular in referring to proposed legislation. My only excuse is that my hon. and learned friend has dealt with the subject as if the Government were responsible for legislation. My hon. and learned friend has referred to the difficulties of the circuit system. One of his observations I most cordially agree with. I believe that the administration of the criminal law is even more important than that of the civil law, and I trust that, whatever changes may be made, nothing will be done to lessen the dignity which at present attends the administration of the criminal law of the country. I quite sympathise with one observation which my hon. and learned friend made, and that is, in connection with the evils attached to the uncertainty of the sittings of the judges caused by the working of the circuit system. It would be most desirable, if, by any method of re-arrangement of business as between town and country, it could be settled before the beginning of each term how many judges would be sitting in town, and how many in the country, so that there should be none of those violent fluctuations of the number of judges sitting in the King's Bench Division—one week more judges than are called for, and another week not enough judges to carry on the business. That is a matter which, I hope, may be adjusted. I should not be in order in following my hon. and learned friend as to the possibility of extending the jurisdiction of the county courts. Proposals have been made in that direction, and I have no doubt they will be considered. Although I am not in a position to make a distinct pledge, I hope my hon. and learned friend will accept as satisfactory the intention and spirit of this reply.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
The discussion of this Vote year after year unfortunately invites very little attention from hon. Members on cither side of the House, and it is one of the most hopeless and heart-breaking proceedings in which we can be engaged. Every year the same complaints are made, and every year the same answer is made. Year by year nothing is done to remedy a state of things which gives rise to the complaints we have had brought before us by my hon. and learned friend with unusual emphasis. I do not hesitate to describe it as a shocking state of things in relation to our appellate jurisdiction. Business in the Court of Appeal is simply blocked, and that means to litigants throughout the country delay, expense, injustice, and embarrassments of every kind. I entirely agree with the hon. and learned Attorney General, and my hon. and learned friend the late Attorney General, that fault for this state of things is not to be found in any want of zeal or judicial skill on the part of the judges. But there are causes which are in constant operation, and which are universally acknowledged, but which no one appears to raise a finger to get rid of. Let me briefly enumerate them, although I will be going over ground which has been traversed a hundred times. In the first place we have got into the habit—I do not say that this Government is more responsible than some of its predecessors—of withdrawing judges, particularly judges of the Court of Appeal, from judicial for non-judicial duties. For instance, during a considerable part of the autumn and winter of last year, an eminent member of the Court of Appeal was sent by the Government to South Africa, on a Commission to inquire into the state of our hospitals and the Army medical system, a duty which could have been equally well discharged by a person who did not hold judicial office. After the experience we have had of the inconvenience and dislocation produced over and over again by similar proceedings in the past, I think it is very much to be regretted that the Government should have weakened the power and efficiency of the Court of Appeal in this manner. I was very glad to hear the remark of the Attorney General that, 1468 as all familiar with legal proceedings will agree, there is an enormous number of unnecessary appeals under our present system, and although it is quite true that this evil is now not of such great dimensions as it was in the past, still a great deal more might be done to diminish the possibility of an appeal in trivial matters, where the right of appeal is not necessary in the interests of justice, but merely affords a pretext to people to put off meeting their just debts. That is the second cause. The third is the one which my hon. and learned friend dealt with, and which is now a commonplace. The present state of our circuit system, which does not directly affect the Court of Appeal, although it concerns it indirectly, leads to an enormous congestion of business in London, and to constant uncertainty—though certainty ought to be the very essence of legal procedure—among litigants as to when their cases would be tried, and enhances, to a degree which it is impossible to estimate, the general cost of the administration of justice in this country. I know how difficult it is to conciliate local sentiment with the requirements of the administration of justice as a whole, but I think the time has come when a serious effort should be made to put an end for ever to what, without using exaggerated language, I may call the scandalous spectacle of judges whose services are wanted for judicial work wasting their time and energy in all parts of the country, either doing no work at all or doing work of the most trivial and trumpery description. I agree with the point which has been urged so often by my right hon. friend the Member for East Wolverhampton, that you cannot adequately settle the circuit question, or the larger question of the Court of Appeal, until you have a devolution of jurisdiction, on a large scale, from the High Court to the lower courts in the country. In Scotland the extension of the jurisdiction of the Sheriffs' Courts has not in point of fact been attended with any of the evils which it was said would arise, and by the distribution of judicial functions between the Court of Session on the one hand, and the Sheriffs' Courts on the other, the, work of litigation has gone on more smoothly, speedily, and economically than in England. I cannot 1469 conceive why a businesslike people like the English should not take a leaf out of their neighbour's book in this matter, and, casting aside prejudice, give to the High Court that relief which every year is so urgent a necessity. If that change could be made I believe this annually recurring complaint would be met, and that our judicial system would be put on something like a reasonable and economical foundation.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
said that greater economy and greater efficiency could be very easily obtained with regard to the work of the Attorney General and Solicitor General for the Government. Under the last Liberal Government the Attorney General was paid a salary of £10,000, and the Solicitor General a salary of £9,000, which included all the business transacted by the law officers, whether it was of a contentious or non-contentious character, and the salaries were fixed with a view to enabling the Attorney General and the Solicitor General to devote their whole time to Government business. Anyone who had experience of the House of Commons knew that the various matters on which the law officers had to advise the Government and the various departments must take up their whole time. When the previous Government entered office in 1895 a change was made, by which the Attorney General and the Solicitor General were paid by salary, but were also allowed fees for contentious business against the Crown. The salaries fixed were £7,000, for the Attorney General and £6,000 for the Solicitor General. How did that work out? In 1895–6 the Attorney General received in salary and fees £10,916; in 1897, £13,030; in 1898, £14,563; in 1899, £17,264; and in 1900, £18,804. No doubt it might be said that there was the Venezuela Arbitration, but the amounts increased year by year, and if it was not the Venezuela Arbitration it was something else. The salary and fees paid to the late Solicitor General were in 1896, £6,691; in 1897, £9,365; in 1898, £10,946; in 1899, £11,844; and in 1900, £11,329. It was obvious that if the law officers of the Crown received fees for contentious business there would be no limit to what they might get. The fees 1470 were fixed by one of the subordinates of the Attorney General, who only had to make an appearance in court, and perhaps not speak at all, or know very little about the case, to get his fee. Every hon. Member would feel, considering the time the House sat, and the amount of advice the law officers had to give to the various departments of the Government, that it was impossible they could attend to contentious business in the courts. It was an unfair principle, because the public service suffered, and the law officers were unable to give that attention they required to the various complex matters which arose every year. The matter was of importance, apart from the amount of money involved, as the Government should have the best possible advice. Last year, very important questions in reference to contraband of war awaited the attention of the law officers for several days, and it was obvious that the law officers had no leisure to attend to contentious business. They had now reached a stage when they ought to have a Committee to inquire into the whole question of the salaries of the Attorney General and Solicitor General, and unless the Government were prepared to promise to appoint that Committee he would have to move a reduction of the Vote. In the hope of getting a reasonable answer, he would delay moving an Amendment until the Government replied. The matter called for immediate attention.
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I have frequently addressed the House upon this question, and I am not going over the same ground I have previously taken. The opinion I have always held is that the only satisfactory way of paying the law officers is by giving them fixed salaries, in return for which they should give the whole of their time. That was strictly the view of Lord James of Hereford, Lord Davey, and Lord Justice Rigby. An arrangement to adopt this course was come to under the late Government, but the present Government has thought fit to alter it, and they know whether the new arrangement has been economical or not. I still hold that the work put on the law officers now requires their constant attention in the House, 1471 the work devolving upon them in all departments making their posts very much more onerous than it ever was before. But those who discuss this question must understand that no one has ever discharged this duty with greater assiduity or ability than the hon. Gentlemen who now hold the offices. Another remark I wish to make is this, that where officers of the Crown have a fixed salary and fees, the details of those charges are set out on the Estimates, and I think that the details of these charges should be set out, following the rule which applies to other officers of State who receive special remuneration. I should now like to say a word in support of the views which have been expressed by hon. friends on this side of the House. With regard to the unsatisfactory state of the administration of justice, it is a growing evil. The administration of justice is getting more difficult and more costly than it has ever been. The answer given by the Attorney General is just the same as the answer given by his predecessors for many years, and might just as well be lithographed and handed down from Attorney General to Attorney General, and so we go on and no improvement is manifest. There can be no defence for the present state of things. The numbers of places the judges have to go to, the days spent in doing nothing, and the formalities of opening commissions, take much precious time from the administration of justice in London, and Chambers of Commerce and others interested in this matter are continually sending remonstrances to the House in reference to it.
Now, while the Vote affecting the law officers of the Crown is under discussion, I should like to call the attention of the Treasury to another point. There is an item on the Vote relating to the payment of the Solicitor to the Treasury and his assistants. The number and qualifications of these officers were fully discussed a good many years ago by a strong departmental committee, which considered the mode of working the internal departments of the Treasury. Upon that Committee were Lord Bowen, Lord James, and, I think, Lord Randolph Churchill. It was a very strong Committee from a legal point of view as 1472 well as the administrative point of view. That Committee expressed the opinion that the education and training of what is euphemistically called the lower branch of the profession was more calculated than that of a barrister to produce the administrative and legal power which was expected from assistant solicitors. A vacancy has recently occurred among these officers, and I am informed that a barrister has been appointed to fill it. I understand that other vacancies may shortly occur, and I wish to suggest to the Treasury that they should disinter from their archives the Report of this Committee, and see whether there is any good reason why their recommendation should not be followed. There is another point to which I desire to call attention. With reference to the retirement of the clerks, I have been requested to bring this before the House by an old friend, whose absence we all regret, who often when here delighted us with his humour. I mean Admiral Field. This is a matter upon which he feels very strongly, and I am simply doing what he would have done had he been here. The recommendation of the Ridley Commission as to retirement at sixty-five, while adhered to in other departments of the public service, for some mysterious reason has received no attention in the legal department. There are no less than twenty-five clerks whose ages range from sixty-five to seventy-five, and whose length of service is from thirty-two to fifty-four years. The result is that promotion among the clerks of that department is practically stopped. I do not ask the House to express an opinion, I only ask the Secretary to the Treasury to look into this question again.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said that in his opinion the hon. Member for Mid Lanark had clearly made out his case. The point which he now desired to make was, that the hon. and learned Gentleman could not possibly, under existing 1473 arrangements, give sufficient time to non-contentious business of the House. The declaration made by the King at the time of his accession must have been made on the advice of the Attorney General, and he believed that when the Attorney General gave that advice he acted under an erroneous impression, and it was quite evident that that impression arose because he had not had time to discuss that very curious document the Bill of Rights. The true construction of the Bill of Rights was that the King was not under any legal or moral obligation at that time to make that declaration. The Bill of Rights was passed in 1689, and at that time Parliament ceased to meet immediately on the demise of the Crown. He contended, therefore, that the words in Section 10 "on the first day of the meeting of the first Parliament" meant the first Parliament convened by the new King, and no other.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I do not think it will be open to the hon. Gentleman, on the Attorney General's salary, to discuss the meaning of a statute. There are proper courts in which the meaning of a statute can be discussed and interpreted.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said he was dealing, not with the construction of a statute, but with the advice given by the Attorney General, for which he was paid £7,000 per annum.
* THE CHAIRMAN
On the hon. Member's own showing, he is dealing with the construction of a statute. That is a matter of law, and I do not think it can be raised in the way in which the hon. Member seeks to discuss it.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said it was a great question of constitutional procedure, for which the Ministers of the Crown had stated they were responsible. It was not a question of law in the ordinary sense, but a matter of constitutional procedure, and the Ministers who had accepted responsibility for it had stated that they acted upon the advice of the Attorney General. He submitted, under those circumstances, the Committee was entitled to attack the advice which had been given.
§ MR. CALDWELL
asked if it was possible to find fault upon this Vote with the manner in which the Attorney General gave his advice.
* THE CHAIRMAN
If the Attorney General gives advice which leads to a wrong decision, then the courts are open in which that decision can be challenged. I do not think this question can be raised upon the Attorney General's salary.
§ MR. DILLON
said he understood the ruling to be that the remedy lay in a court of law; but how was it possible for them to challenge the action of the Ministry in the present instance in any court of law?
§ MR. DILLON
said he understood the Chairman based his decision on the point that it was open to his hon. friend to challenge the question in a court of law.
§ MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
pointed out that the Attorney General might give advice which would result in foreign complications, and he wished to know in that case whether it would be competent to raise the point upon this Vote.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I do not think it would be competent on the Attorney General's salary. The action of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs would be open to discussion, but not the action of the Attorney General.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
asked if there was any other Minister excepting the Attorney General upon whose action they could bring this question up.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I do not say that this House cannot discuss the question, but I do not think the question can be raised upon the Attorney General's salary. I only desire to rule on the present occasion that it cannot be discussed upon this Vote.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
You stated, Mr 1475 Lowther, that in the case of the Attorney General giving advice upon foreign affairs to the Minister acting, it is the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who would be responsible. I would ask which Minister it is who would be responsible in this case?
* THE CHAIRMAN
I cannot give an answer to that. It is quite possible that the Government as a whole might be challenged as to their action upon this question. All I desire to say is that I do not think the point raised is in order upon the salary of the Attorney General.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I have already pointed out that the Committee of Supply is not the only occasion upon which the action of the Government can be criticised.
* THE CHAIRMAN
Order, order! I must decline altogether to enter into an argument upon the question. I have given my best attention to the point, and I have given my decision.
§ * MR. HEMPHILL
If you have given your final decision, then I have nothing more to say. What I wish to submit is that if the Attorney General in point of fact gives a bad opinion to the Government of which he is a member, is that a ground for discussion on the salary of the Attorney General, and can it be raised upon this Vote?
* THE CHAIRMAN
An hon. Member has asked me the question before, and I answered it in the negative. I have nothing more to say, as I have already given my decision upon this matter. I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to proceed with some other question.
* THE CHAIRMAN
I must ask the hon. Member not to discuss my decision 1476 further. I have given my decision to the best of my ability.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said he was not challenging the decision. He submitted that the King followed Ministerial advice in making the declaration, and the Attorney General was responsible.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
This must be the subject of a motion in the whole House, for it is a matter which must be settled. I asked the Colonial Secretary a question with reference to the indemnity which was to be paid by the Chartered Company as far back as October, 1899, and I got the answer that the indemnity would be settled after the war. An hon. Member the other day asked a question with regard to this indemnity, and the Colonial Secretary then stated that, on the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown, no indemnity was to be paid at all. May I challenge that statement now?
* THE CHAIRMAN
That, in my opinion, would properly come in upon the salary of the Colonial Secretary.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
submitted with great respect that the Colonial Secretary shoved them off on to the Attorney General, and declined all responsibility, and he wished to know to whom were they to go? Was it a legal point outside the purview of the House?
* THE CHAIRMAN
I can promise the hon. Member that if he raises that question upon the salary of the Colonial Secretary, I shall hold that he is perfectly in order in doing so. It would be obvious that, upon his own showing, the action of every Department of the State could be raised upon the salary of the Attorney General, and on the face of it that is impossible.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said he should point out to the House that the Attorney General enjoyed immunity in regard to the advice he gave. No matter how wrong his advice was, he was paid £7,000 out of the public funds, and the House was gagged.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that although the case he wished to raise was not the same as that raised by the hon. Member who had just spoken, yet there was a certain similarity between them. The question he wished to raise was in connection with the advice given by the Attorney General regarding the seizure of certain vessels suspected of having on board contraband of war. His complaint was that international law had been violated, and he desired to challenge the advice given by the Attorney General.
* THE CHAIRMAN
That question will arise very properly upon the salary of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs or of the Board of Admiralty, who took certain action upon the advice received. If that is what the hon. Member challenges, that is the proper time to raise it.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he would bow to the Chairman's ruling, and would not pursue the question further.
§ MR. DILLON
said he desired to raise a perfectly clear and definite issue, and for that purpose, he moved to reduce the salary of the Attorney General by £6,000 a year, on the ground that he was incompetent to discharge the duties of his office. He wished to state his case clearly and fairly. Was it not open to a member of the Committee, when they were called upon to vote £7,000 a year to a high official of the State, to challenge that Vote on the ground that he was incompetent for the position he occupied, and were they not entitled to argue, in support of such contention, that he had given to the Government a series of mistaken advices? What was the Attorney General paid for? He was paid under two heads. Under the present system the larger portion of his salary was for contentious business, and that had nothing to do with keeping the Government straight. Practically, the sole purpose for which this £7,000 a year was paid was that he should act as adviser to the Ministry, in order that whenever the Ministry required legal advice, either on constitutional questions or upon questions affecting the relations with foreign Powers, they should have 1478 at their hands the best possible legal advice. Supposing, he contended, that the present Attorney General was not the best possible legal adviser, and was incompetent to fill one of the most important positions in the State, how was he to argue that if he was not allowed to go into the different circumstances upon which he based his contention, and if he was not permitted to examine the advice given by the Attorney General? He submitted that all those whose salaries were on the Estimates—including even the Chairman—were bound to submit their conduct in the discharge of the duties for which their salaries were paid to the judgment of the Committee. They heard in the opening of this discussion what appeared to him to be a totally irregular debate upon the administration of the Courts of Justice in the country, and that was allowed to go on for a long time. Were they to be told now that the Attorney General in respect to everything that he did to earn his £7,000 a year was above and outside the criticism of this House? That was practically what it amounted to. The Attorney General's salary was to be voted sub silentio, and they were told that they were not entitled to criticise any of his acts. What did the Attorney General do, besides contentious business, but advise the Ministry? He wished to know what else he did for his £7,000 a year. He entirely understood the position taken up in the Chairman's ruling, that when there was a question of advice given by the Attorney General to the Foreign Minister, the Colonial Secretary, or the Home Secretary, the responsibility for the action taken by them might reasonably be laid upon the shoulders of the Minister; but when they were met by that Minister with the sharp answer, on proposing to discuss his action, that he was acting upon the advice of the legal advisers of the Crown, what were they to do? For the purpose of raising this question he begged to move the reduction of the salary of the Attorney General by £6,000, on the ground of his incompetence to discharge the duties of his office in respect of advice given to Ministers of the Crown.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I am not going to prove that my hon. and learned friend is competent, because, I believe, even the hon. Gentleman who has just moved this reduction, does not require proof of that. The Committee recognise that my hon. and learned friend is as competent as any of his long list of distinguished predecessors. I would respectfully point out to the House that while, of course, it is not out of order to move a reduction of his salary on the ground of incompetence, it would be absolutely impossible under our existing system to challenge any particular legal decision or advice given by the Attorney General, because the opinions of the law officers of the Crown have invariably been regarded as confidential documents, and are never laid under any circumstances before the House. The various Departments of the Government are from time to time greatly beholden to the law officers for advice, and the Ministers guide themselves constantly by their advice, but it is the Ministers who are responsible to the House for their action. The law officers have no control over the legal action of the Government. A Minister is not obliged to take his law from the Attorney General. He may go anywhere he likes for his law, but he goes to the law officers because he thinks he will get better law from them than he would get elsewhere. From the very fact that the advice of the law officers of the Crown is of a confidential character, it is manifest that any charge of incompetence such as that brought forward cannot be, and ought not to be, discussed upon an occasion like this. I hope the House will see the propriety of the general rule which I have laid down. If the House wants to challenge the conduct of Ministers who have not followed the advice of the law officers, they should do so on the Votes of those Ministers, and not upon the Vote for the law officers of the Crown. The hon. Gentleman says that the Secretary of State for the Colonies informed the House the other day that the law officer had given an opinion upon certain equities connected with the Chartered 1480 Company, but the Colonial Secretary did not shelter himself behind the law officers, and he did not throw the responsibility upon them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I beg the hon. Member's pardon, but the Colonial Secretary alone is primarily responsible. Of course, it is a responsibility shared by all the Cabinet, but not by the law officers. If the hon. Gentleman chooses to attack the Colonial Secretary on the Colonial Secretary's Vote, no doubt my hon. and learned friends will be quite willing to give in debate their assistance to the Colonial Secretary. Their opinion has not been laid, will not be laid, and could not be laid, upon the Table of this House. It is obviously impossible that the salary of the law officers of the Crown should be attacked on the ground of a particular decision, in which the Ministers have acted entirely upon their own responsibility. I think I have made the position clear. This is not a position which I now take up for the first time, but it is one which has received the support of all those who have been responsible for the government of the country.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said the Colonial Secretary did the other day throw responsibility on the Attorney General, and said, practically, that he had acted according to the opinion of the law officers of the Crown. What did that mean? That the right hon. Gentleman himself was not a lawyer, and did not exercise his own judgment in the matter, but that he accepted fully and absolutely the dictum of the Attorney General. Under those circumstances it could not possibly be contended that the Colonial Secretary did not throw upon the Attorney General the full and absolute responsibility. The Colonial Secretary regarded this matter as a legal question to be decided not by him but by the Attorney General. They did not for a moment say that the Attorney General was an incompetent lawyer, for he believed him to be a most able man. What they did contend was that with all this contentious business he had so much to do that he could not 1481 devote the time necessary in order to get up the data of questions on which he was asked to form an opinion. That seemed to him to be a very reasonable view to take. He had often heard talk of the Attorney General's "devil"—he did not know who he was, and he did not like using such terms in connection with any legal gentleman. He presumed that the hon. and learned Gentle man fell back upon his "devil" in these matters. It practically amounted to this—that owing to the large amount of business thrown upon the Attorney General by the Ministry, and owing to the large amount of contentious business which he had to undertake, a portion of the work had to be thrown upon some unknown and mysterious "devil" whom they did not know. Under these circumstances he would support his hon. friend. He did it all the more readily because if the Attorney General were an incompetent man it would be deemed a personal affront to him, but as they had so very competent a gentleman in the Attorney General there could he nothing personal in the matter. He was sure that the Attorney General himself felt that they really wanted to relieve him of a certain amount of his work, and as a necessary consequence of a certain amount of his salary. Why was it that those gentlemen were paid so well? The Lord Chancellor did not get £18,000 a year. A judge of the supreme court did not get that salary. The First Lord of the Treasury, who had come forward for the defence of the Attorney General, did his work in this House for the modest salary of £5,000. But they
§ found the Attorney General and the Solicitor General getting salaries of three or four times what was given to the highest political lights of the country when they were in office. This certainly did seem a mistake, and he believed it arose from this. When they had to appoint an Attorney General they generally took a gentleman who had distinguished himself in the law courts. He was the fashionable advocate at the time. He got very large fees, and naturally he was not inclined to sacrifice those fees unless he got almost the same amount as Attorney General. If they went to another class of lawyers—if they went to wise and eminent lawyers who were not the fashionable advocates of the day, they would, he was sure, find among them competent men who could act as Attorney General if they limited the position of the Attorney General to giving advice to Ministers of the Crown on law matters. The House did not want the Attorney General to blaze forth in rhetoric and eloquence. They wanted a plain, solid, simple man who knew the law, and he would engage to provide the Government at any time from the bar with one of those plain, solid men, who would be perfectly ready to do the business, and who would do the business perfectly well, for a salary of £5,000, and the chance of gravitating into a judgeship afterwards.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 109; Noes, 230. (Division List No. 149.)1485
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Cogan, Denis J.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Craig, Robert Hunter||Hammond, John|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Crean, Eugene||Hardie, J. K. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Cremer, William Randal||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Cullinan, J.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Delany, William||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.|
|Blake, Edward||Dillon, John||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Boland, John||Doogan, P. C.||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)|
|Boyle, James||Duffy, William J.||Hope, John D. (Fife, West)|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Farrell, James Patrick||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Brigg, John||Field, William||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Caine, William Sproston||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Cadwell, James||Flynn, James Christopher||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Fuller, J. M. F.||Joyce, Michael|
|Carvill, Patrick George H.||Gilhooly, James||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Channing, Francis||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Kinloch, Sir John George S.|
|Labouchere, Henry||Norman, Henry||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Lambert, George||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Sinclair Capt. John (Forfarshire|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Leamy, Edmund||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Lloyd-George, David||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Strachey, Edward|
|Lough, Thomas||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Lundon, W.||O'Dowd, John||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||O'Malley, William||Tully, Jasper|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||O'Mara, James||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|M'Cann, James||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham)||Weir, James Galloway|
|M'Dermott, Patrick||Pickard, Benjamin||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|M'Govern, T.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Priestley, Arthur||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Mooney, John J.||Rea, Russell||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Reddy, M.|
|Moss, Samuel||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Murphy, J.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Sir Thomas Esmonde and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Roche, John|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Colville, John||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Haslett, Sir James Homer|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Cox, Irwin Edward B.||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Archdale, Edward Mervin||Cranborne, Viscount||Heath, Jas. (Staffords., N. W|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Crombie, John William||Helder, Augustus|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Henderson, Alexander|
|Austin Sir John||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Denny, Colonel||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Dickison, Robert Edmond||Holland, William Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. N. J. (Manch'r||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. D.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield Brightside|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Horner, Frederick William|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Doxford, Sir William T.||Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Dunn, Sir William||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H.||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B. (Hants.||Elibank, Master of||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph D.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Emmott, Alfred||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Faber, George Denison||Kenyon, Hn. G. T. (Denbigh)|
|Bigwood, James||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.|
|Bill, Charles||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Knowles, Lees|
|Bond, Edward||Fenwick, Charles||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc.||Lawrence, William F.|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Finlay, Sir Robert B.||Lawson, John Grant|
|Brassey, Albert||Fisher, William Hayes||Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||F'itz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Leighton, Stanley|
|Bull, William James||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Levy, Maurice|
|Butcher, John George||Forster, Henry William||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn J. A. (Glasgow||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Carlile, William Walter||Garfit, William||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gibbs, Hn. A.G. H. (City of Lon.||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Lucas, Col. F. (Lowestoft)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Goschen, Hon. George J.||Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Macartnev; Rt. Hn. W. G. E.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Grant, Corrie||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Gunter, Colonel||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hain, Edward||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld G (Midd'x||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Coddington, Sir William||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Malcolm, Ian|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W.||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (St'ly bridge||Thomas, J A (Glam'r'gn, Gow'r.)|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Rigg, Richard||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Mitchell, William||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Trittton, Charles Ernest|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Robinson, Brooke||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Robson, William Snowdon||Valentia, Viscount|
|Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Wallace, Robert|
|Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Ropner, Col. Robert||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Russell, T. W.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E. (Taunton|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Seton-Karr, Henry||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wilson, A Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks|
|Partington, Oswald||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E R. (Bath|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Smith, Abel H. (Hereford, E.)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B Stuart|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Spear, John Ward||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Purvis, Robert||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Randles, John S.||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Stroyan, John||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Reid, Sir R. T. (Dumfries)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Tennant, Harold John||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Renwick, George||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that, now that the First Lord of the Treasury was in his place, he wished to call his attention to a matter connected with the salaries of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, and to ask whether he would appoint a Committee to consider this matter. He might explain to the First Lord that, under an arrangement made by the last Liberal Government, the Attorney General had a fixed salary of £10,000 a year, and the Solicitor General of £9,000. That included all business of the Crown whatever, contentious and non-contentious, and they were debarred from all private practice. Under the present system, since the year 1895, the Government had paid the Attorney General a salary of £7,000, and the Solicitor General a salary of £6,000, but it had allowed the Attorney General and the Solicitor General to practise contentious business for the Crown, but not private business. He would give the First Lord the figures. Beginning with the year 1895, the Attorney General got, including his salary and non-contentious business for the Crown, £10,916. The second year the amount was £13,030; the third year it was £14,563; the fourth year £17,264; and in the year 1899–1900, £18,804, made up in this way— 1486 £7,000 of salary and £11,804 of fees. Then, taking the Solicitor General, he had in the first year £6,691; £9,365 the second year; £10,946 the third year; £11,844 the fourth year; and £11,329 the fifth year. Now, as the First Lord of the Treasury knew, that was an enormous salary for the country to pay—because the country paid that. It was not private business. The First Lord knew very well bow much strain had been put on the law officers of the Crown of late years, how they had to come to the House at three o'clock in the afternoon, and wait on till sometimes three and four o'clock in the morning, and how impossible it was for the Attorney General, having the important work of advising the Government, to attend to Government contentious business in court in addition to the work he was doing in the House. The Government were not getting what they ought to get, namely, full value for the work devoted to Government business. He asked the First Lord of the Treasury whether, when they had reached these large sums of money being paid to the law officers of the Crown, the time had not come when a Committee should be appointed to consider this whole question of the Attorney General's and the Solicitor General's salaries in the interests of efficiency, The Chancellor of the Exchequer told 1487 them that they ought to exercise economy. Here was the first opportunity for it. What was the Government going to do? They could not have a better case for economy in the whole Estimates. If economy was not going to be exercised here, they might as well give up the whole idea altogether. In order that the First Lord of the Treasury might give him an answer, he would move the reduction of the salary of the Attorney General by £100. There was nothing personal in his motion, but he simply wished to bring forward the matter as a point of principle.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salaries), be reduced by £100, in respect of the Salary of the Attorney General,"—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
As the hon. Gentleman says that this is purely a question of principle, he will have no objection to my dealing with it. I think the hon. Gentleman unintentionally conveyed rather an erroneous impression to the House in reference to this matter. It is not the case that during the whole of the administration of 1892–5 the law officers of the Crown were paid by a salary which covered the whole work. The system lasted only a short time—for, I think, about eighteen months altogether, and then it was dropped.
§ MR. CALDWELL
It was tried for eighteen months. When the Liberal Government came into power, they could not adapt it all at once, but they did so as early as possible. It was in operation for the last eighteen months of the existence of that Government, and would have continued till this day had the Liberals remained in power.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
At any rate, the system only prevailed for eighteen months. The hon. Gentleman referred to the amounts which the Attorney General had received. He spoke of £17,000 in 1898–99, and £18,000 for 1899–1900. These figures are very misleading indeed, because he does not bear in mind that these include the fees for very special work done upon the 1488 Venezuela, arbitration in Paris. I do not say the hon. Gentleman improperly kept that back, but he conveyed to the House the impression that £18,000 was a sort of normal salary of the Attorney General under the present dispensation. All I can say is that I wish that the hon. Gentleman was right in his opinion.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am not complaining of the figures which the hon. Gentleman read out, but of the inference which he drew from those figures, as if they were the normal earnings of the law officers of the Crown under the present dispensation. I wish that the hon. Gentleman was right, but he is not right. On this question of figures, if the hon. Gentleman had gone a little more fully into the matter he would have seen that one of his points was not quite borne out. If he had taken the year 1894–5 he would have found the salary and fees of the Attorney General amounted to £19,635.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am not going to enter into an elaborate discussion as to the propriety of a particular mode of remuneration; but I think that every lawyer will admit that there is a good deal to be said for the system of salary for non-contentious business, and of fees for contentious business as long as these fees are fair and proper. The hon. Gentleman seems to think that the law officers fix their own fees. Nothing of the kind.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I said that the agents of the Crown fixed the fees, and that those agents were practically the servants of the Attorney General.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The hon. Gentleman is entirely mistaken. If any difficulty arises with regard to the amount of the fees, the Minute provides that it 1489 should be finally decided by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The hon. Gentleman seems to imagine that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is entirely the creature of the law officers.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am not going into details in a matter of this kind. As long as I have the honour to be a law officer of the Crown, I will not enter into any controversy with the Chancellor of the Exchequer or any one else with regard to fees. Let the Treasury fix the fees as they please. My only concern is to do the Government work. The hon. Gentleman's proposal, as I understand it, is not to go back to the system of paying a salary for contentious and non-contentious business, but that the Government, when a case comes into Court, should be represented, not by the law officers, but by somebody else. What an extraordinary system; that one set of gentlemen should advise the Crown, and another set of gentlemen should go into court and get up the whole case de novo! Such a system would not be practicable, and certainly it would not be economic.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I think my hon. friend was quite justified in raising this question. I am very anxious, and I hope we are all anxious, to discuss this question from an impersonal point of view, and simply from the point of view of the economic working of the Department. That is the only desire I have in intervening in the debate. I should like to remind the Committee of the history of the matter, and of the experience we have had of the two different systems. When Mr. Gladstone's Government came into office in 1892 he laid down a rule which was based on two principles: first, that the law officers should not take any private practice, but should devote their whole time to Government business. Up to that time the Attorney General and the Solicitor General were largely engaged by private litigants, and it was felt that law officers receiving such liberal remuneration from 1490 the public purse might well be expected to do what every other Minister had to do—devote their working hours and energies entirely to the Crown. That principle has been carried out continuously from that time to this, the present Government having made no change in that respect. But Mr. Glad stone laid down another principle—that not only should the law officers confine themselves to the public service, but that as soon as possible the whole of their services, contentious and non-contentious, whether advising the Government Departments or conducting cases in courts, should be paid for by one inclusive salary. When the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries became Attorney General, and my lamented friend Sir Frank Lockwood became Solicitor General, during their whole term of office they were paid for everything they did by a single, inclusive salary; and in that respect the present Government have made a departure on the practice of their predecessors. What has been the result? I am not going to make any invidious comparisons between the manner in which the Government work has been done under one régime or another. I gladly testify to the fact that never, in my experience at any rate, has the legal work of the Government been more efficiently done both by Sir Richard Webster, now Lord Chief Justice, and by his distinguished successor. That is not the question at all. On the whole I believe the work is thoroughly well done. But measuring the two systems from the point of view of economy, there is no comparison between them. The combined salaries of the law officers under Lord Rosebery's Administration amounted to £19,000—£10,000 to the Attorney General and £9,000 to the Solicitor General. In every subsequent year that sum for contentious and non-contentious work has been largely exceeded, as appears from the figures quoted by my hon. friend, and taken from the official Return. I will not take an exceptional year like last year, when there was the Venezuela arbitration in Paris, which necessarily swelled the expenses of the Department, nor the year 1892, when similar proceedings in connection with the Behring Sea arbitration swelled the expenses of that I year. But take any one of the intermediate years you like, and I venture to say 1491 that, from the figures of the Return, the expenses of this Department under the system which the present Government have substituted for that which we brought into operation have largely increased. I cannot imagine a fairer case for economy in these days when the Chancellor of the Exchequer hardly ever comes down to the House without lecturing the House and the country and his colleagues on the necessity of economy. I think a fair case for legitimate economy has been brought before the House by my hon. friend, and without making any kind of personal reflection I am compelled to vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said that it would be in the recollection of the House that during the Liberal Administration of 1892–95, the President of the Board of Agriculture and others, including himself, had frequently raised this question. They felt that the arrangements in regard to the remuneration of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General were, although extremely liberal, not what they should be; and after their agitation the system was altered and the law officers of the Crown gave up all private practice. That was unanimously felt to be a proper step; and it was thought, generally speaking, that a salary equal to that of the Lord Chancellor was a reasonable sum for the Attorney General, and a slightly less amount for the Solicitor General, to receive. They saw that the extra fees came to a good deal more than the salaries themselves, and they discussed the matter every session until the system was altered. In fact they prided themselves that their agitation had got rid of the private practice and that the salaries of the law officers of the Crown had been settled on a liberal and permanent basis. It seemed to him that the present system had not worked in the way that they had supposed it would, and that the total remuneration was very much larger than was ever contemplated when their agitation brought about the reform. It seemed somewhat unreasonable that the Attorney General should receive a salary more than double that of the Lord Chancellor, and four times that of the Prime Minister. He 1492 was sure that the general feeling of the country was that these officers should be handsomely remunerated, but it was not reasonable that these extra fees should be paid. He would like to know how these fees were fixed. An appeal to the Treasury seemed to him a most extraordinary thing. For his part, he did not believe there ever was an appeal to the Treasury. When he and his friends sat on the other side of the House it was not contemplated that the contentious business should bring in more than double the salary fixed at that time. They thought that the permanent fixed salary was to include everything. That was the proper system. The salary should be a handsome one, considering the great fees which a distinguished barrister could command from private litigants, but it ought to be a fixed payment, and, for the sake of the dignity of the office, it should not be left open to these everlasting discussions.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
thought they were entitled to an answer from the First Lord of the Treasury to the question which had been put to him—whether he was prepared to institute some sort of inquiry into the working of the present system, with a view to affecting an amendment upon it. There was no doubt something ought to be done. The figures quoted supported a very strong case for inquiry. The hon. and learned Attorney General in defending his fees confused the issue. He fastened attention on one year and said that that was an exceptional year. But he would take the preceding year, when he found that the fees and salary of the Attorney General amounted to £17,260, and the fees and salary of the Solicitor General amounted to £12,000, or a total of £29,200, as against £19,000 which the Liberal Government considered an adequate payment to the Attorney General and the Solicitor General. That was a difference of £10,000. Now, considering the advisability of economy in every department, he did not know where economy could be more sensibly and rationally commenced than in this particular department. The worst of it was that each year represented a very substantial advance on the preceding one—from 1493 £10,000 to £13,000, from £13,000 to £14,000, from £14,000 to £17,000, and from £17,000 to £18,000 last year. He did not think that it was a sufficient explanation that there had been an exceptional case in regard to the Venezuela Arbitration. A judge was not paid more because he tried a celebrated case. He was not paid in proportion to the heaviness of the work, or to the importance of the cause that came before him. A member of the Ministry was not paid more when he had got big and heavy responsibilities upon him in any particular year. Take the Secretary for War; if he were paid on the fee system, his salary would be greater than that of the Attorney General. Why should there be an exception in regard to these particular officers? He thought lawyers ought to be treated on the same principle as others as to remuneration. They ought to be reasonably, but not extravagantly, paid. A question had been put by the hon. Member who had just spoken. They should like to know on what principle these fees were based. The Attorney General said that in cases of difficulty there was a reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Of course there never was a reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. These fees were fixed by clerks in the Department of the Crown Solicitor, whose appointment and promotion wore in the hands of the Attorney General. After all, human nature was the same in solicitors as in anybody else, and those clerks, knowing that they were fixing the fees of the man from whom they expected to got promotion, were not liable to err on a question of the foes to the Attorney General, or in reference to an appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He asked whether there had ever been a single case of a reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to a fee marked by these clerks, or to any of his predecessors.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir EDWARD CARSON,) Dublin University
There have been several appeals to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ MR. LLOYD GEORGE
ventured to say that they were not very serious. It was very possible that the Chancellor of 1494 the Exchequer might have said, "These fees are very heavy, and I should like to have some explanation of them." From what he knew of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that was what might have taken place; but he should like to know of a single case in which a dispute had occurred between the clerks to the Solicitor to the Treasury and the Attorney General, and which was referred to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He thought there would be no answer to that question.
§ SIR EDWARD CARSON
The law officers do not fix their own fees, and therefore there cannot be a dispute between them and the Treasury Solicitor. What the Treasury Solicitor does is to fix the fees, and he submits them to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ MR. LLOYD GEORGE
said that the way the fees were fixed was just the same as any other fees were fixed for ordinary barristers. The fees wore marked on the back of the brief, and it was the business of the Attorney General's or the Solicitor General's clerk to say that the fee was most inadequate, that the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, as the case might be, never entered the court for such a miserable fee in his life. He knew perfectly well how it was done. The Solicitor General, of course, never fixed his fee, and he would say that he never was so surprised in his life as to see a brief marked with such a foe. He had never seen a barrister yet who thought the fee marked on his brief was adequate. He maintained that the system was a bad one. If they allowed the fees to be marked by solicitors' clerks, whoso promotion depended on the man whose fees they fixed, they were bound to have these bills growing from year to year. There was no reason why the fees should remain at £18,000. From the way they were fixed, they were quite capable of growing to £80,000 a year. If they had Some system, as was inaugurated by the last Government, of fixing the salary of the Attorney General at £10,000, and the Solicitor General at £9,000 a year, they would know what they had got to deal with. The system was thoroughly rotten and unreasonable, and he would support the suggestion of his hon. friend 1495 for an inquiry into it, in order that it might be put on a proper basis. He did not think that the Attorney General or the Solicitor General should be called on year after year to defend their own fees. It did not conduce to the dignity of their position or to the economy of the department, and he would ask the First Lord of the Treasury to look into the matter, not from the point of view of any individual, but from the point of view of the public and of economy.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Two or three hon. Gentlemen have made a pointed appeal to me, and in these circumstances I will answer them. I do not think it necessary, however, to add anything to what has been said by the Attorney General. There was a great alteration, and, on the whole, although I had doubts about it at the time, I now believe a great reform introduced by Mr. Gladstone's Government. I was dubious about it at the time, but it was sound in this respect, that it prevented the Attorney General and the Solicitor General from having to divide their services between the general public and the Government of which they formed a part. Ever since that change was introduced, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General have served the Government and the Government alone. There can be no doubt that the services of these distinguished lawyers belong to the Government, and the Government have an undivided claim upon them. In that, I assume, the Committee are agreed. There then remains the question as to whether the salary given by the Government should be wholly a fixed salary or partly a fixed salary and partly a salary by fees. For a very short time the experiment was tried of the whole salary being a fixed salary, with no addition in the way of fees. I do not know whether that was thought by the members of the Government who carried it out to be thoroughly satisfactory, but certainly the opinion of the late Attorney General and the present Attorney General, as well as of their colleagues, is that it is a much more convenient and rational system, and one, on the whole, to the public advantage, that there should be a mixed salary, partly by salary and partly by fees.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know whether that ironical cheer from the hon. Member who has just sat down is to indicate that these distinguished lawyers were influenced solely by the anticipation that under the mixed system their remuneration would be greater than under the unmixed system. I am not at all sure when we have the experience of a normal year. We have not had a normal year.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
However that may be, is it contended that the salary we pay to the class of lawyer whose services we demand as Attorney or Solicitor General is greater or indeed equal to the remuneration these gentlemen would get if they followed the ordinary practice of their profession, and were not associated with the Government? It is manifestly a great fallacy to compare the remuneration we give to the law officers to the remuneration we give to the majority of the ordinary members of the Cabinet. There may be exceptional cases in which a member of the Cabinet has abandoned a very lucrative profession in order to serve the State, by doing which he might suffer great pecuniary loss, but these are not ordinary normal cases. I do not know that it is a very great addition to a man's wealth to become a member of the Cabinet, but, as a rule, no very great loss ensues. But if we are going to insist on having the pick of the legal profession for Attorney and Solicitor General, is it wise, and, in the long run, good economy, to fix their remuneration on a scale which does not equal the ordinary market price of their services, and is not equal to the amount they would get if they had never become law officers of the Crown, but had continued to carry on their profession in the ordinary way? I do not think that would be very wise, but that is not the only reason, I think, which should influence the Committee. I would respectfully point out that it is of the highest importance that our law officers should be in constant touch with the courts of law, and I must say that, in the long run, the tendency would inevitably be, if we paid no fees for work in court, that the work in court would gradually, with the lapse 1497 of time, not be carried out by our law officers, but would fall largely on their juniors. It is a matter of conjecture, but that, I believe, would be the natural tendency and effect. I never had the good fortune to be a lawyer, and if I had I do not suppose it would have been my still better fortune to be a lawyer in large practice, but I am informed by persons who have been lawyers in large practice that there is so close an association between work in court and the reception of a fee for that work that it produces quite an unnatural and unpleasant sensation to have to do the work and not get the fee. So great is the force of habit that I can very well imagine that that might be the case. But whether that slight excursion into the psychology of the legal profession be accurate or not, I do think that every inducement should be offered to the law officers of the Crown to keep in constant touch with the, courts, and do as much of the work of the Government in the courts as is possible or practicable. I think that in the course of time we would find that a fixed system by which no fees were given for court work would have the gradual effect of diminishing the amount of court work that was done by successive generations of law officers. My hon. friend the Member for North Islington asked what was the scale of fees. I understand that the system is that law officers of the Crown should receive the ordinary professional fees of a King's counsel of average standing, with this limitation, that the maximum should be 150 guineas, with a 30-guinea refresher. In exceptional cases, and at the discretion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, larger fees may be given, but only under certain circumstances. I hope I have given reasons for adhering to the system winch has now been in force for six or seven years.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Under the system that was enforced by a previous Government the salaries for the two law officers amounted, I think, to £19,000. In 1896–97 it grew to £22,000, in 1897–98 to £25,000, in 1898–99 to £29,000, and in 1899–1900 to £30,000. We know that the Army and Navy expenditure has largely increased, but we have not yet heard that the wants of the Empire demand a proportionate 1498 increase in the salary of the law officers The simple ground on which I shall support the motion is that I do not know the amount of these fees.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Attorney General does not remember his fees for last year, but the Solicitor General does—fees and salary together amounted to £8,500.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
It is perfectly certain, in my opinion, that there is no justification for this progressive expenditure on the law officers. The simple ground on which I shall vote in support of this motion is that these duties ought to be discharged for less than £30,000 a year. The right hon. Gentleman has said that it is an advantage that the law officers should go into court, but they might go into court at a fixed salary. It is said that it is necessary for the acuteness of a law officer, as it is supposed to be of a physician, that he should feel the fee in his hand, but if we fix salaries sufficiently high we might surely expect that both his learning and eloquence would be at the disposal of the country for a less amount than he now receives. We must see the great danger of this divided system, for if the law officer has any choice in this matter he might think it either very advantageous to be always in court or to always remain away, according to circumstances. I shall vote for the reduction, in order to express my opinion that this progressive increase in the expenditure is not justified, and that these services ought to be rendered, as they have been before, at a much lower rate.
§ MR. SPEAR (Devon, Tavistock)
said he ventured to join in the appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury to consider the expediency and importance of fixing an adequate but definite scale of salary for the Attorney General and the Solicitor General. He did not think the Committee wished the law officers to be underpaid, but having regard to the fact that in all municipal bodies, whether they were county councils, boards of guardians, or district councils, it had been found absolutely necessary, in the interests both of efficiency and economy, to pay the law officers a definite salary, he thought that Parliament ought at 1499 least to afford an example to municipal bodies in the matter. He emphasised the question at this juncture because of the recent remarks of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the great importance of exercising economy in the administration of public departments, and he thought the Committee would be making a very good start if they decided that in future the law officers should be paid a definite salary. He could not regard it as otherwise than serious that the cost of the law officers had increased from £19,000 to £30,000, and as a loyal Unionist he considered that the country would expect the Committee to practise as well as preach economy. He appealed to the First Lord of the Treasury to make an arrangement by which the law officers should be paid an adequate but definite salary, instead of being paid partly by salary and partly by fees.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W.R., Pudsey)
said he did not consider the explanation of the First Lord of the Treasury as at all satisfactory. Indeed, that explanation, if he had had any doubt in his mind, would certainly have decided him to vote in favour of the reduction. The Committee was supposed to be an assembly of hon. Members possessing great business capabilities, but he would ask any business man, if he had a servant whose salary was increasing by leaps and bounds, whether he would not put his thinking cap on and consider a rearrangement of the system which permitted it. They were told the figures were not normal, but there had been an increase year by year. He ventured to suggest, from the business point of view, that it was desirable that a limit should be placed on such expenditure. How were the fees settled? They were settled by a little family party consisting of the Solicitor to the Treasury, the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The explanation of the First Lord of the Treasury was that it was desirable that the law officers should be in touch with the courts, and that they would have no incentive to go into the courts unless they obtained fees. That was to say, that having fixed the salaries of the law officers at a certain sum—and there was no desire to be parsimonious or niggardly 1500 in the matter—they were so wanting in uprightness that they would draw their salaries and refuse to go into the courts. He entirely refused to believe that the present law officers of the Crown would act in such a manner. The Committee were quite ready to vote a sum commensurate with the abilities of the hon. and learned Gentlemen, but he thought the check on the fees should not be in the hands of the Government. If the fees were once fixed he believed the country would be satisfied, and the Committee would be spared discussions year after year which they must all deplore. Even at the eleventh hour he appealed to the First Lord of the Treasury to reconsider his decision.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he hoped His Majesty's Government would not allow the Committee to go to a division with the mere statement made by the First Lord of the Treasury. He did not want to vote for the reduction of the salary of the Attorney General, because he believed it was as completely and entirely earned as ever an Attorney General earned a salary. It was not a question of amount. It was a question whether the Committee should reassert the principle, which had been so often asserted by his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Agriculture, that the Attorney General and Solicitor General should be paid by fixed payments. He was extremely anxious that neither the President of the Board of Agriculture nor himself should be placed in a position of difficulty by having either to abandon their principles or vote for the reduction. He thought it extremely inconvenient when there was a Vote for £9,000 for salary, and when in addition another £9,000 was had in fees, that the latter should not be mentioned in the Estimates even in a note. If it were left out the Committee would be asked to vote under a misapprehension and without adequate knowledge in the matter. He thought that was very unfortunate, but he did not attribute it to any desire for concealment on the part of the Government. It was, he thought, a mistake, but that placed the Committee at a disadvantage. The Leader of the House had declaimed against hon. Members 1501 who desired to diminish the salaries of the Attorney General and Solicitor General. He was not one who believed that lawyers of such eminence should not be highly paid, though he should be better pleased if they took their payment as the Prime Minister and the Loader of the House did—partly in money and partly in honour; but he did not complain that they required it all in money. He did not suggest that the money was too much, but he submitted it was paid in the wrong way. It should be a fixed salary, whatever amount the Committee liked; say, £20,000 a year for the Attorney General and £15,000, £16,000, or £17,000 or even a larger amount for the Solicitor General. A fixed salary was the true principle. The best and most devoted services in the world were given for fixed salaries. The services of the soldier or the sailor, which sometimes included the giving of his life, were, given for fixed salaries, and he would venture to add as a corollary that services given for varying salaries were usually not so creditable, such as the services of vendors of sewing machines, promoters of bogus companies, and such like. Wherever services of the highest and most honourable kind, either to the State or to the individual, were found, they were paid for by a fixed salary. In his opinion, and in the opinion of the President of the Board of Agriculture, the salaries of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General ought to be fixed amounts. He was very much pained to hear the Leader of the House suggest a thing about the law officers which cast a very unmerited reflection upon them. The Leader of the House, in effect, stated that they could not be trusted to go into the courts as often as they would be required unless they were paid fees. He did not believe that for a moment. He believed that if the Attorney General and the Solicitor General were paid fixed salaries they would be just as ready and eager to descend into the forensic arena as they were at present. He should have thought the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, if they had an opportunity of conducting a large case, would seize it with avidity, even without a fee at all, and he was certain they would be quite as anxious 1502 to do their duty to the Government if they were paid a fixed salary. He hoped his right hon. friend would withdraw that argument. He really did not know how he and his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Agriculture would vote. They did not wish to vote for the reduction, and yet they felt strongly that the present system was bad. They would urge the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House to hold out some prospect that the door was not shut forever against what they considered to be the best system, namely, the payment of fixed salaries.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said as he had been ruled out of order—the propriety of which he did not question—in discussing the gross mistake made with reference to the King's Declaration, he would ask the Leader of the House to kindly tell him what Minister was responsible.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said that perhaps the Leader of the House would answer, but if he did not, he wished to correct a misstatement he made. The right hon. Gentleman said that the opinions of the law officers of the Crown were confidential—
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said his conscience would not allow this Vote to pass without protesting against the most unfair and cruel attack made by the First Lord of the Treasury upon men whom he respected so highly as the Attorney General and the Solicitor General. The only argument the First Lord of the Treasury put forward was that these two eminent and able men were so thoroughly dishonest that if it was agreed to pay them a fixed salary they would not do the work. He did not believe it of them, and protest ought to be made from this side of the House against these attacks by one Minister on another. He regarded himself as the representative of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this House when the right hon. Gentle- 1503 man was not present. [At this moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer walked into the House.] He was glad to see that his leader had come back. He might say that though he differed from the right hon. Gentleman in many things, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and he were the only firm and stalwart advocates of economy in the House. It was perfectly monstrous when the House was called upon to impose fresh taxes that they should have to vote these increased payments without any demand being made for them.
§ * THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
As I understand, the present mode of paying the law officers of the Crown has been attacked on the ground of economy. There are two kinds of economy, and it is conceivable that by the economy which has been suggested by some hon. Members it might not be possible to obtain the best services for these important posts.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that these two hon. and learned Gentlemen performed their duties at a, less salary for two or three years?
§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
No, I am not aware of that fact. I do not deny that the present system has cost the country more than the fixed salary system which existed for a short time before, but I think that system was a mistake. It has been suggested that I, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, do not look after the pence. On the contrary, I do so very carefully. Whenever there is a fee proposed over 150 guineas, that fee has to come before me, and I have frequently reduced the fees proposed. I can quite understand that I am not a popular person either with the Bar or with the clerks of my hon. and learned friends. I have endeavoured to perform this extremely difficult task by apportioning the fees to the work in each particular case, of course acting on the best advice I could obtain. I have not had any remonstrance from my hon. and learned friends in the matter, but I have endeavoured to act fairly by them and also to the Exchequer. I honestly 1504 believe that it is more in accordance with general practice, and better for the country that there should be the system of payment by fixed salary for ordinary services and payment by fees for exceptional services, such as the Venezuela Arbitration. I am, of course, speaking under a great disadvantage, not having heard the debate.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
said the House now knew the truth of the matter, that although the country had had to pay £30,000 last year, that amount would have been considerably larger but for the discretion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He regarded this matter as the touchstone between the two parties. Were we going to have economy or not? The House had now its opportunity of recording its view of economy and of extravagance. The opportunity was favourable to strike a blow in favour of economy, and he hoped the Amendment would receive the support of the House.
§ * MR. HEMPHILL
said he rose to protest against the argument put forward by the First Lord of the Treasury in this matter. The main point of the right hon. Gentleman was that the law officers of the Crown would not do their duty so well if they were paid a fixed salary as they did at present. He had too great a respect for the hon. and learned Gentlemen and their brothers in the great profession to which he had the honour to belong to suppose that they would be in any way affected by the fact that their fees were contingent or fixed. Such a statement was an aspersion on the legal profession. The skill and eloquence of the Attorney General would not be measured by the amount he was to receive for his services. Why should it be left to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cut down the fees? There was no necessity for inquiry, because if the emoluments of the hon. and learned Gentlemen for the last ten years were taken and added together and then divided by ten the Committee would arrive very easily at the proper salary for any future occupants of the offices. He supported the Amendment.
§ Question put.1505
|The Committee divided:—Ayes, 152; Noes, 185. (Division List No. 150.)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Grant, Corrie||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Allen, William (Gateshead)||Guthrie, Walter Murray||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Dowd, John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hammond, John||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Asquith, Rt Hon Herbert Henry||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||O'Malley, William|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hardie, J Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Mara, James|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hayden, John Patrick||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Partington, Oswald|
|Bell, Richard||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Blake, Edward||Holme, Norval Watson||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Boland, John||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Priestley, Arthur|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Rea, Russell|
|Boyle, James||Holland, William Henry||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Brigg, John||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Reddy, M.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Horniman, Frederick John||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jacoby, James Alfred||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Burt, Thomas||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Caine, William Sproston||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Caldwell, James||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rigg, Richard|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kennedy, Patrick James||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth||Roche, John|
|Crawley, Frederick||Labouchere, Henry||Russell, T. W.|
|Charming, Francis Allston||Lambert, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Layland-Barratt, Fran cis||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Colville, John||Leamy, Edmund||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Leng, Sir John||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Crean, Eugene||Levy, Maurice||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lewis, John Herbert||Spear, John Ward|
|Cullinan, J.||Lloyd-George, David||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (N'rth'nts|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lough, Thomas||Strachey, Edward|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lundon, W.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Delany, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tennant, Harold John|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh||M'Dermott, Patrick||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gow'r|
|Dillon, John||M'Govern, T.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Doogan, P. C.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tully, Jasper|
|Duffy, William J.||Mooney, John J.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Edwards, Frank||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Emmott, Alfred||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Moss, Samuel||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Moulton, John Fletcher||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Murphy, J.||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Field, William||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Norman, Henry||Younger, William|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Mr. William M'Arthur and Mr. Causton.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, Patrick|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Chanberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bigwood, James||Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bill, Charles||Chapman, Edward|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bond, Edward||Charrington, Spencer|
|Austin, Sir John||Boseawen, Arthur Griffith-||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Brassey, Albert||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bull, William James||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Butcher, John George||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Cautley, Henry Strother||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'mlts, S. Geo.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Knowles, Lees||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Law, Andrew Bonar||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Dixon Hartland, Sir Fred. D.||Lawrence, William F.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawson, John Grant||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney).|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lee, Arthur H (Hants. Fareham||Robinson, Brooke|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H.||Leigh Bennett, Henry Currie||Rollit, Sir Albert. Kaye|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Faber, George Denison||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Bristol, S.)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Finch, George H.||Lowe, Francis William||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Macartney, Rt. Hn W. G. Ellison||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Maconochie, A. W.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Garfit, William||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts||Majendie, James A. H.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Malcolm, Ian||Stroyan, John|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Goschen, Hon. George J.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gouliding, Edward Alfred||Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire||Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Greene, W. Raymond- (Camb.||Middlemore, John Throgmort'n||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gunter, Colonel||Milton, Viscount||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Hain, Edward||Mitchell, William||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Valencia, Viscount|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'y)||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.||Morgan, David J. (W'lth'mstow||Wallace, Robert|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Morrison, James Archibald||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Wason, John C. (Orkney)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John L.|
|Heath, Jas. (Staffords., N.W.)||Muntz, Philip A.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Helder, Augustus||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Henderson, Alexander||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn E. R. (Bath)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Nicholson, William Graham||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Heare, Sir Samuel (Norwich.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wyndham, Sit. Hon. George|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightsd)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Pemberton, John S. G.||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.)||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Purvis, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Randles, John S.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Reid, James (Greenock)|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)
said he desired to call attention to the item referring to the staff of the Solicitor to the Treasury, King's Proctor, and Director of Public Prosecutions. He found there were no less than twenty clerks in the Department, and of that number six were either pluralists or receiving salaries personal to the present holders of the position. Such a practice was a most objectionable one. There were three assistant solicitors at a salary of £600, rising by £25 a year to £800, and out of those three one was also Assistant King's Proctor, and received from that position an additional £1,000. 1508 A footnote in the Estimate said that that salary would be reconsidered when a vacancy arose, but notwithstanding the footnote, that amount constantly appeared in the Estimates, and there was no real attempt at economy in filling up the position. He complained that there was an entirely new office appearing in the Estimates—the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions. That Gentleman received £600 a year, rising by £25 a year to £800, and he thought the Committee was justified in asking the reason for such an additional servant to the public, and such an additional increase in the Estimates; there was already an Assistant King's Proctor, whom most people would consider was rather an 1509 overpaid official. Why could not he have taken this particular work? The Director of Public Prosecutions was also King's Proctor, and if one gentleman could fill both those offices, why could not the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions also be the Assistant King's Proctor? He could only come to the conclusion that the new office had been created simply for the purpose of giving some first-class clerk an increase of salary. Out of the five first-class clerks three were starred as receiving additional payments. The practice was a very dangerous and obnoxious one, as under it a great many Votes had to be gone through to ascertain how much salary an official really received. Under the law courts branch a gentleman, called the principal, had a salary of £700, rising by £25 a year to a maximum of £850. But that official actually received a salary of £1,200 a year, £350 of which was personal to the present holder of the office. These personal payments should be thoroughly investigated, and a distinct pledge given that that particular salary would be considerably reduced. A note appended to the Vote stated that the permanent staff of clerks and messengers was in process of abolition as vacancies arose. That was probably a very reasonable thing to do, as what were really wanted were solicitors' clerks and not permanent civil servants. But although the Vote said the permanent staff was in process of abolition the number was not diminished, In the interests of economy these matters should be gone carefully into. The department had always been an exceedingly costly one, and the time had surely arrived when the promises of amendment should be given some effect. Another point was, that notwithstanding the increased cost of the department there was no larger amount of work done. Instead of there being any economy, any reduction of the permanent staff, or any real improvement effected, the cost of the department was much greater and the amount of work much less. The only way in which attention could be directed to this matter in order that the claims of economy might be considered was to move a reduction of the Vote whenever it came up for discussion. He therefore moved a reduction of the Vote 1510 to the amount of £600 in respect of the salary of the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item H be reduced by £600, in respect of the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions."—(Mr. Goddard.)
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said the hon. Member had refered to the fact that it was stated that certain appointments were to be abolished as vacancies occurred, and complained that that statement appeared year after year. But no amount of discussion on the Vote would produce a vacancy. When a vacancy occurred a reduction would take place.
§ MR. GODDARD
pointed out that in one department there had been a reduction of officials from six to five, but there had been a new office created.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said that was a different matter altogether. With regard to the appointment of an Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, speaking with some knowledge of the way in which the work of the Director of Public Prosecutions was done, he had no hesitation in saying that the duties were most admirably performed. There was a great and increasing volume of work, and there could be no worse economy than to deny the Director of Public Prosecutions, who so well did his own share of the work, the assistance necessary efficiently to carry out the whole of the duties. He hoped under these circumstances the hon. Member would not think it necessary to divide upon his proposal.
§ MR. CAINE (Cornwall, Camborne)
desired, as this Amendment was practically a vote of censure on the Department, to refer to the Public Prosecutor's neglect in connection with election petitions. In regard to the Maidstone election petition, the Attorney General was on three occasions in the month of February asked whether he would prosecute the persons who had been reported and not granted certificates. On each occasion the reply was that the matter was under consideration. Perhaps the Attorney General would now 1511 state whether any prosecutions had taken place.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
Certainly. The matter was carefully considered, and there was only one person against whom a prosecution had any chance of success. Proceedings were instituted, and the magistrates dismissed the charge. I would, however, ask the hon. Member not to press me further, because it is possible that the proceedings are not yet over.
§ MR. CAINE
, in that case, desired to refer to the neglect of the Public Prosecutor in the duty he was supposed to perform in court itself. From the evidence and proceedings in both the Maidstone and the Monmouth petitions, it appeared that the Public Prosecutor made no appearance in any way. The only reference to the Public Prosecutor in connection with the Monmouth petition was in the closing words of the shorthand writer's report—Mr. David: I have an application to make on behalf of the Public Prosecutor, and that is, that your Lordships will make the costs of his appearing here a portion of the costs of the petition.Mr. Justice Kennedy: No. I do not think there is any special case upon which to make the respondent pay the costs of the Public Prosecutor.Mr. David: He was bound to come, my Lord.Mr. Justice Kennedy: And you have performed a public function for which the public fund rewards you.That reward from public funds was contained in the Vote before the Committee. There were certain scandalous cases in connection with the Monmouth petition which in his (the speaker)'s judgment, ought to have been noticed at the time by the Public Prosecutor or his representative, and in respect of which the judges should have been pressed for a conviction. There was the case of 1512 Thomas Icke, who was paid for work, it being intended that he should vote, while being paid by and in the employ of the respondent. In regard to this matter, Mr. Justice Kennedy said that it was carried out in a "most discreditable" way. It was planned and carried out in a dishonourable manner, and the counsel for the defence said it was impossible to ask relief. Yet this Thomas Icke asked relief and obtained his certificate without any protest on the part of the Public Prosecutor, or any application that he should be prosecuted. Then there was the very bad case of Mr. Cleaver, in regard to which Mr. Justice Kennedy said—Now under these circumstances it is impossible for us, we feel, to come to any conclusion except that to which we do come, and further, of course, with regard to Mr. Cleaver there is independently on his part a violation, which, in terms, is more flagrant still, of the Act which I have read, for which he must be responsible—the publication of that document, which he admits, and which is full of that which one can only say is not merited as an accusation—I mean it rests upon nothing more than fantastic inference and imaginings, for which there was really no sound basis at all, but which were put together in a form likely to damage, and intended to damage, the candidate to whom Mr. Cleaver was referring. Under those circumstances it seems to us we have only on the grounds that I have said to declare that this petition must succeed, and unseat the present sitting member.When this Mr. Cleaver applied for relief the Public Prosecutor made no appearance; nor did he apply either for a prosecution or the suspension of the certificate. But the worst case of all was that of Dr. Rutherfoord Harris, in regard to which Mr. Justice Kennedy said—Then comes the remaining question, and that is the violations, as alleged, of the Act of 1895. Now with regard to that, we have considered it, I need not say, very carefully indeed, and I do not propose here to lay down general principles in stating the conclusions at which we have arrived, but to deal with the case, in short, noon the particular circumstances and upon the particular documents which are in evidence before us.….Now in this case we have come to the conclusion that we cannot exonerate Dr. Rutherfoord Harris. It is our opinion that there has been by him a violation of this statute in the statements which he made, and which he published for the purpose of affecting the return. We agree that on the facts before us Mr. Spicer has himself and his supporters to thank to some extent for the attacks to which Dr. Rutherfoord Harris gave expression.1513 and so on. The conclusion was that this act of Dr. Rutherfoord Harris was sufficient to unseat him and to prevent him standing again for the constituency. But when Dr. Rutherfoord Harris applied for relief the Public Prosecutor, as in the other cases, made no appearance, used no arguments, and asked for no prosecution. The conduct of the whole election was a scandal and a disgrace to Dr. Rutherfoord Harris, who ought certainly to have been scheduled without any relief, and if the Public Prosecutor had done his duty he would, at any rate, have made application before the Judge that such a course should be taken. The result of this neglect of duty was that men were becoming more and more shameless in electioneering, and were indulging more and more in corrupt practices which poor men could not follow. These men—Mr. Barker at Maid-stone, and Dr. Rutherfoord Harris at Monmouth—went down to the new elections which were the result of their own misconduct, canvassing those who had been under their corrupt influence, and persuading them to record their votes on the strength of the old promises. Members had now an opportunity of recording a protest against the shortcomings of the Public Prosecutor and the default which he had committed in regard to these and many other election petitions. It was the duty of that official to protect Members of Parliament and the public generally against these corrupt men, who demoralised constituencies and were the common enemies of both sides of politics. The time was coming when, in consequence of this neglect of the Public Prosecutor, none but millionaires, who were the very last men who should become Members of this House, would be able to become candidates, and he therefore trusted that the Committee would take advantage of this Vote to record a strong protest in the matter.
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER
I think the Committee are indebted to my hon. friend for having raised this question so far as it relates to election petitions. I think perhaps it would not be too much to say that the Corrupt Practices Act of 1880 has not been carried out to the extent and in the manner intended by Parliament. A great many of its most 1514 beneficial provisions have been whittled away—certainly not in the interests of the purity of elections. On this particular point I want to ask the Attorney General what he regards to be the duty of the Public Prosecutor with reference to these apparently useless and abortive appearances of counsel at the hearing of election petitions. So far as the public are concerned, I regard this money as absolutely thrown away. It is made the occasion for giving a certain number of fees to the no doubt very estimable junior barristers who appear on behalf of the Public Prosecutor, but what they do we do not know, and we have no details as to what it costs them to do it. I think Parliament intended, as the wording of the Act indicates, that the Public Prosecutor should appear before the Election Commissioners to represent the interests of the general public and to prevent what I observe is fast becoming the practice in these election petitions. Counsel appearing for the sitting Member are astute enough to know from the particulars delivered, and from the opening speech of counsel for the petitioner, whether one particular case is bound to be proved, and, if it is proved, that the seat is bound to be lost. This is admitted, and the inquiry closes, I do not blame counsel for trying to bring the case to a close as rapidly as possible, but they thus prevent the disclosure of other acts which have been alleged, and also prevent the possibility of the issue of a Commission under the Act of 1885 to inquire into the corrupt practices in the constituency. I am satisfied that in many eases if the Public Prosecutor had appealed to the court not to allow what are practically compromises at the beginning of a case, that if he had appealed to the court not to allow the allegations to be hushed up, but to insist that the case should be fought out, the judges would have reported in favour of a Commission, and a Commission would have been issued. In the Cockermouth election petition the judges refused at once to allow the case to be stopped. They insisted upon a full and proper hearing, and it was due to the sitting Member that they should do so. In my judgment that hon. Member was unfairly and improperly attacked. But was there any appearance 1515 on behalf of the Public Prosecutor? If he was there simply as an ornament to the court, all I can say is that it is not the business of the House of Commons to pay for such a purpose. Having regard to the very important nature of these inquiries, the public have a right to be properly represented. The Director of Public Prosecutions is rather a new-fangled term; I should prefer the old-fashioned phrase, "the Attorney General," but, whichever it is, he ought to appear in these cases on behalf of the public, in order to see that justice is done, that the Act of Parliament is fairly carried out, and that every possible attempt is made to put an end to corrupt practices, of the prevalence of which the fewness of petitions is no indication. I believe that in certain practices which have been declared to be legal more money is spent at the present day in what is practically corruption than at the time when these petitions were fought out before Parliamentary Committees of this House, and Commissions were issued which resulted in the disfranchisement of the constituency concerned. There are constituencies which are known to be corrupt; their politics are known to be marketable, but they escape because of the very poor machinery which we have for dealing with these matters. I appeal to the Attorney General to give an undertaking that he will himself look into the matter and insist that there should be effective representation at these inquiries.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that he is not more anxious than I am that in every case of this kind, so far as it is possible for a public official to prevent the hushing up of what would be a public scandal, every possible step should he taken for that purpose. I think if the right hon. Gentleman will but look a little into the history of these cases he will see that his observation with regard to the gentleman who appeared for the Director of Public Prosecutions is hardly justified. Take the Maidstone case itself. So far from his being a non-entity, the proceedings will show that a great part certainly of one day, and I think rather more than one day, was occupied by an effective exami- 1516 nation and cross-examination by the gentleman who appeared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. When the case was evidently about to come to an end, so far as the parties to the litigation were concerned, he intervened to examine and cross-examine, and he did all that it was possible for man to do to bring the facts to the knowledge of the court.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
What was there for him to do at Monmouth? A great part of the hon. Member's speech seemed to be intended for consumption at Monmouth rather than by this Committee.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
What I said was that a great part of the hon. Member's speech seemed to be intended for consumption at Monmouth. If the hon. Member assures me that he was not thinking of Monmouth, of course I will accept his statement.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
Very well; I accept the hon. Member's statement. In regard to the appearance of the repre- 1517 sentative of the Director of Public Prosecutions at the hearing of these petitions, of course on some occasions there is no real need for the active intervention of the Director of Public Prosecutions. If he thinks a further examination or cross-examination may do good, he intervenes. It is no use for him to get up merely to occupy the time if he feels that he has not got the materials to enable him to render the court any assistance. But that really forms a part of a very large question, to which I should like to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman who has addressed me on this point. If the Director of Public Prosecutions is to exercise an effective control over every election petition, it would be necessary that in every case he should go to the very large expense of getting up the whole of the case from the point of view of the public. Everyone who has had the misfortune to be a party to an election petition, or who has been professionally engaged in one, knows how very expensive these petitions are. I ask the Committee in all seriousness whether it would be tolerated that there should appear year after year in the Estimates a sum to defray the very large expenditure which most certainly would be incurred if in every election petition the case were got up in such a way.
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER
said he had not the slightest intention of conveying, the idea that that should be done. His idea was that there should be an effective intervention of the Attorney General at the hearing of the case, and that that was what the Act of Parliament intended.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
Certainly; I quite appreciate what the, right hon. Gentleman said, but I think he will see that to secure a more effective intervention it is absolutely necessary that there should be proper materials behind it. Those materials cannot be secured without the case having been got up in the regular way. All the Director of Public Prosecutions can do, unless the case has been prepared as it would be for one of the parties to the litigation, is to be vigilant and to cross-examine on such material as appears, or on such 1518 information as may reach him, and that is the duty which the gentleman who has represented the Director of Public Prosecutions on these occasions has discharged. With regard to the cases in which it is said that matters were hushed up, it must be remembered that in the case of those election petitions the petitioner was anxious to achieve the object of unseating the respondent. Naturally both those gentlemen are anxious not to incur any more expense than is unavoidably thrown upon them by the discharge of their functions as the petitioner and the respondent, and if it appears to them that the seat must go, neither of them is willing to take part in the inquiry from the public point of view. They are not anxious to do that, and they will only assist in so far as their object is served. So far as the recent cases are concerned, think that no charge can be made against the Director of Public Prosecutions that there has been any remissness on the part of his representative, and there has not been any hushing up, for he has done everything he could in the matter. The hon. Gentleman who brought forward this subject complained very much of the Director of Public Prosecutions for not objecting to the granting of certificates of indemnity to certain witnesses, but I must call the attention of the hon. Member for Camborne to the fact that if a witness in the opinion of the court has made a full disclosure, he is entitled to his certificate of indemnity, and what a ridiculous figure the gentleman representing the Public Prosecutor would cut if he objected, when the judge had only obeyed the law. If the representative of the Public Prosecutor has any reason to believe that a witness has not made a full disclosure, the attention of the court would be called to the fact; but if the witness has made a full disclosure, the court must comply with the terms of the law, and I do not understand why the hon. Member for Camborne has attacked the Public Prosecutor in this respect.
The hon. Member said a great deal about the recent inquiry in connection with the Monmouth Boroughs election. I desire just to recall the attention of the Committee to the nature of that inquiry, Mr. Justice Kennedy at the beginning 1519 of his judgment—I am quoting from the report in The Times newspaper—said there was no allegation of any corrupt practices, but only of certain illegal practices, for which the agent of Dr. Rutherfoord Harris was to blame, and not himself. On these various grounds, although there were no allegations whatever of corrupt practices, the election was declared to be void. I really do not understand how it can be said in connection with the Monmouth petition that there was the slightest neglect of duty on the part of the Public Prosecutor. What the hon. Member thinks the Public Prosecutor should have done which he did not do I really cannot understand. I assure the Committee that in connection with the Monmouth Boroughs petition there really is not the slightest ground for the attacks which have been made upon the action of the Public Prosecutor.
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
said there were several items which required the attention of the Committee before this Vote was passed. They had just heard from the Attorney General a commendation of the work done by the Director of Public Prosecutions. All that he could say was that in the country, at any rate, they failed to see where this particular gentleman earned the salary they were now asked to vote. There were complaints constantly and continuously that the Director of Public Prosecutions was absent from cases when he ought to be present in connection with work which no other private individual could undertake. They were now asked to vote a sum of £2,500 for this particular gentleman's salary, and he had been trying to find out what work this official did. He found that this gentleman appeared on this Vote as solicitor to the King's Proctor and Director of Public Prosecutions. As far as he had been able to discover, he found that the same gentleman also held the fol owing offices:—Solicitor to the Admiralty, the Charity Commission, the Home Office, the Treasury, the War Office, and the Office of Works. It appeared to him that he held so many offices that he was not able to do the work satisfactorily of any of them, and they were now asked to appoint a new official at £600 a year at a time when they were not satisfied that the present 1520 occupant of the office was doing the work satisfactorily. He would like to ask the Attorney General whether he could lay on the Table a Return of the number of cases in which this gentleman had interfered, and the success or otherwise of his interference. He wished to point out that a note in the Estimates stated that the permanent staff of clerks and messengers was under process of abolition as vacancies arose. That showed there were clerks and messengers whose services were not required, and who were kicking their heels in those offices with nothing to do, and it was quite time that they rre lieved that department of encumbrances of that kind in the interests of economy. He found that an increase of ten such clerks was asked for in another department, at salaries rising to £1,500 a year. In one department they had too many clerks and messengers, while in another department they were asked to vote ten new men. He never knew any commercial firm manage its business in that way. If one department had idle clerks and messengers, it could transfer them to another department which required them. He hoped the House would accept this Amendment.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
said he supported the hon. Member for Camborne when he brought the question of the Maidstone election before the House, and if he took a division upon this question he proposed to follow him into the lobby. He did not think the House had any idea of the extraordinary way in which such practices had flourished. As for the Public Prosecutor, he supposed that he was not to blame in the matter, although he failed to see how the Director of Public Prosecutions had justified his position in reference to these election petitions.
MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthenshire, W.)
said he was afraid he would not be able to vote with his hon. friends on this occasion, for, in his opinion, the learned gentleman who represented the Public Prosecutor at the hearing of the Monmouth petition not only did his duty, but he would have advised a prosecution if, in his judgment, the evidence had justified it. He did not think for a moment that that gentleman either misconducted him- 1521 self in the discharge of his duty, or that he was incompetent to do so. He was not holding a brief for a professional brother, but having heard these attacks made upon a gentleman whom he knew, he thought it would be unfair and improper to allow the opportunity to pass without raising his voice in his defence. Some hon. Members might be under the impression that, because the learned counsel was nominated by the Attorney General, he had probably nominated one of his own political side. That was a mistake, for the gentleman alluded to was a Liberal in politics, and had stood as the Liberal candidate for a constituency. He had a fairly large practice, and he had had many years experience, and it could not be suggested that either on the ground of incompetency or of political bias he had failed to perform his duty. No doubt this learned gentleman felt that under the circumstances it would have been impossible to secure a conviction of the men charged with corruption, and for that reason he did not recommend a prosecution. He agreed himself with every word that had been said by hon, Members as to the desirability of putting down corruption, and it did seem strange that when cases of corruption similar to that which took place at Maidstone, and apparently at Monmouth also, some public prosecution did not follow. He agreed as to the desirability of putting an end to corruption, but he felt that be could not allow a learned friend of his, who had discharged his duty with perfect honour and competence, to be attacked without raising his voice on his behalf.
§ MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton stated, in a most emphatic manner, that he regarded the amount which the House voted yearly for the Public Prosecutor to be so much money absolutely wasted.
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER
I am bound to correct that statement. I think the Vote for the Public Prosecutor is money well earned. The only objection I raise is that I do not think the country gets full value for the attendance of representatives at election petitions. Every other item in the Vote meets with my support.
§ MR. CREMER
said he took down the words of the right hon. Gentleman, and what he stated was, "That it was money thrown away." If he had misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman he would withdraw his assertion and apologise. The Attorney General had stated that the Public Prosecutor could not waste his time in raking up evidence for the purpose of prosecutions under the Corrupt Practices Act, and he had asserted that the Public Prosecutor always did his duty when occasion arose. He happened to have been the victim of the negligence of the Public Prosecutor, because in an election petition in which he was immediately concerned the judges declined to give certificates of indemnity to three of the electors, and their names were reported to the Government of the day. No prosecution ever took place, and no attempt was made to punish those men for the offence which they were found guilty of. Where was the Public Prosecutor in that instance?
§ MR. CREMER
said it was an election petition in 1895 in which two judges differed, and they delivered judgment to the effect that they were unable to agree as to whether the Member in question had been duly returned as a Member of this House, and notwithstanding that extraordinary verdict, that Member sat in this House and voted for five years, although two judges occupied themselves for a fortnight trying to ascertain whether he had been duly elected or not.
§ MR. CREMER
said he was only quoting it as a case in point, and he hoped the Attorney General would bear it in mind. On one of the recent petitions one of the judges stated that the Corrupt Practices Act had been practically frittered away, and that there was very little of it left at the present moment. He hoped his hon. friend would go to a division, so that the members of the Committee present might 1523 mark their disapproval of the frittering away of this Act when petitions were brought forward.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
With regard to the case of 1895 which has been referred to, I am not sufficiently acquainted with the facts of the case, which is rather ancient history, to be able to give an opinion.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I do not know what the facts are, and it is impossible to go into a case of that kind which took place years ago and which is hardly relevant to the Vote of the present year. I desire to say a word or two in reference to what was said by the hon. Member for Halifax with regard to the Public Prosecutor. He stated that the Director of Public Prosecutions neglected his work, and that a Return should be made as to the amount of work done each year. It is a great pity that the hon. Member did not take the trouble to look at his Parliamentary Papers before making a charge of this kind against a most meritorious public servant. If the hon. Member looks at his Parliamentary Paper he will find that a most elaborate Return was presented in July, 1900, of the work done by the Public Prosecutor in the preceding year, and I think it is a little hard on a gentleman occupying a responsible position that a statement of this kind should be made.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said that, not being a Member of the House at the time, he could only speak from the evidence given to the public outside as to the result of the work of this department.
§ * MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
said no doubt three witnesses were reported by the judges in the case alluded to as guilty of impersonation, and yet they were not prosecuted. A charge might be made against an individual, and when the papers were submitted to counsel he might advise his client that there was not sufficient evidence upon which to proceed. In 1895 in an election where he was the defeated candidate the re- 1524 turning officer himself prosecuted one of the electors for personation, but the prosecution was quashed at the Assizes, and there was not a prima facie case made out. In another case in which he was interested, the Liberal Association prosecuted a man for an offence under the Corrupt Practices Act, again without any satisfactory result. It by no means followed that because election judges said a person should be prosecuted that the Public Prosecutor was able to present the case for trial. He had looked at the evidence himself, and the evidence which was available at the hearing was not always available for presentation to the Public Prosecutor. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL made a motion of assent.] He wished the Attorney General to consider whether something could not be done to amend the procedure in connection with election petitions. At the trial of election petitions it was the practice to appoint a barrister to watch the case on behalf of the Public Prosecutor, but no one was assigned to him to assist in the work. He thought that was putting the cart before the horse, because everybody knew perfectly well that there was often evidence available which neither party was interested in presenting to the judges, and therefore, there ought to be a third party who, in the interest of the public, should see to it that the whole of the evidence available was presented to the court. The barrister sent down to represent the Public Prosecutor could take no active part in the proceedings until the cases of petitioner and the respondent had been heard to an end, and then if he asked the judges to declare that he ought to have a solicitor assigned to him in order to take the matter in hand, there was practically no time whatever in which the inquiry could be made and the evidence was not always available. He felt sorry that he had to appear for once as an advocate of spending more money, but he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton that the money which had been spent on public prosecutions in connection with election petitions, mainly for the reason be had given, had been thrown away. Either the barrister sent down ought to be provided with the necessary assistance to make inquiries, and to ascertain what 1525 had gone on during the election, or he had better not be sent down at all. He ventured to suggest to the Attorney General that that was the right course to take. He was not sure whether he would be in order in calling attention to another matter on this Vote, namely, the Returns presented to this House in regard to election petitions. At the present time an election petition—
* THE CHAIRMAN
We are now discussing the salary of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the hon. Member should confine himself to that.
§ * MR. CORRIE GRANT
said if he was allowed to state his point he was not sure but that it would appear that he was right in bringing it forward now. When these Returns were presented there should also be added to them the petition itself and the particulars which were filed with the petition, because the evidence without the petition and the particulars was practically useless even to a trained lawyer, and certainly of no use whatever to ordinary people. He thought he was right in asking that that should be considered.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
said his reason for supporting the reduction of the Vote was that he desired to stimulate the cause of economy in this House. The office of Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions was a new office, and it was at the present time a wholly unnecessary one to create. The gravamen and gist of the charge in connection with this Vote, and with other Votes with which they would have to deal hereafter, was that there was a vast number of pluralists—clerksand professional gentlemen—who were receiving salaries under different heads, and in consequence of the way the accounts were rendered the Committee were prevented from arriving at a true appreciation of the state of affairs. There was one man who received a salary under six different heads, and it was quite a Chinese puzzle to find out from the accounts in such cases what the total emoluments of officials amounted to. The House would never be able to secure economy and control expenditure in the different departments unless it appeared on the face of the accounts 1526 what the officials, clerks, and legal gentlemen received. The note which professed to explain the Vote was almost a farce. It showed that one office had been abolished this year, and another created. He believed that the gentleman who held the old office had been appointed to the new one at a larger salary. Notwithstanding the admission in the note that there were offices which were unnecessary, the total Vote was £500 more this year than in the past year. That was the way the Government practiced economy. He asked the Attorney General whether it was not possible to state the accounts in such a manner as to show distinctly what each individual received in his various capacities.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said he should like to ask one or two questions with regard to the salary of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Director of Public Prosecutions held the offices of Solicitor to the Admiralty, the Charity Commission, the Home Office, the Treasury, the War Office, and the Works Commission, in addition to the three offices enumerated in the Vote. Did he get anything in respect of these offices in addition to the £2,500 he got as Director of Public Prosecutions? Had he charged fees to these various Departments in respect of work done? It must be perfectly obvious to anybody who knew the delicate character of the work undertaken by the Director of Public Prosecutions that he could not discharge the functions of the office properly if he was solicitor to all these different Departments. The work of Director of Public Prosecutions was a purely personal one. He ought not to depute the work to any clerks in his office, however skilful they might be. It required considerable judgment and training. No man who properly discharged the functions of all these offices could do the work at the same time of Director of Public Prosecutions. It was not a case of charging him with dereliction of duty. They knew how perfunctorily the work was done in connection with election petitions. Nobody suggested that the gentleman who represented the Public Prosecutor on these occasions did anything dishonourable, or anything which showed in- 1527 competency on his part, but one must take into account the amount of material at his disposal. One would like to see the sort of brief he had on these occasions. There was no attempt to have any sort of inquiry. He was there holding a watching brief, which was no brief at all.
§ SIR EDWARD CARSON
I do not think it is necessary for me to travel over the ground already traversed by the Attorney General with regard to the appointment of counsel to represent the Crown in the Monmouth election petition. The hon. and learned Member has asked a question as to the Treasury Solicitor. The Treasury Solicitor gets a salary of £2,500 a year. That salary covers all the departments, and therefore the complaint made that this official is paid under various heads, and that he receives various salaries is quite an erroneous one.
§ SIR EDWARD CARSON
He is the only one I can find in this Vote that would come under that head. It is quite true that the Treasury Solicitor is also Public Prosecutor—Director of Public Prosecutions. He gets no official salary for that, nor for any of the other offices which have been mentioned. The hon. and learned Member says it is impossible for one individual to perform all these offices. Well, of course, the only way he can perform all these offices is by engaging a proper staff, and it is for that
§ reason it became necessary, in view of the increase in the business of the Public Prosecutor, to appoint an Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, and that is the office which is objected to, and on which a division is proposed to be taken. Being brought a good deal into contact with the Director of Public Prosecutions in the various departments he has to preside over, and with reference to which he has to be consulted, all I can say is that I have never met a more efficient officer in any department than the present holder of these various offices, who receives a salary of £2,500. So far from being overpaid, he is inadequately paid, and so far from having too much assistance, I think he has too little assistance. I think if you take away the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions you will inflict great injury on the public service and public business, because the position of Director of Public Prosecutions is one of vast importance, and one which is daily calling for more attention on the part of the official who holds it.
§ DR. AMBROSE (Mayo, W.)
said that if an officer were appointed for each of the different offices the money would be distributed, and that would be better than giving it all to one man, who held all the offices, and allowing him to appoint his own staff.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes. 102; Noes, 147. (Division List No. 151.)
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Reckitt, Harold James||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Reddy, M.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Weir, James Galloway|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Redmond, William (Clare)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Rickett, J. Compton||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Roche, John||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|O'Dowd, John||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh'e||Yoxall, James Henry|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|O'Mara, James||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R. (Northants||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Partington, Oswald||Sullivan, Donal||Mr. Goddard and Mr. Caine.|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Thomas, J A (Glam'gan, Gower)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Flower, Ernest||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Forster Henry William||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Garfit, William||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gordon, Maj. E. (T'w'rH'mlets||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Goschen, Hon. George J.||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Austin, Sir John||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lrd G. (Midd'x||Purvis, Robert|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Randles, John S.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W.||Reid, James Greenock)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.||Rigg, Richard|
|Bigwood, James||Heaton, John Henniker||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomsom|
|Bowles, T Gibson (King's Lynn)||Hedler, Augustus||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Higginbottom, S. W.||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Bull, William James||Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Butcher, John George||Horner, Frederick William||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Carlile, William Walter||Ho ward, John (Kent, Faversh.)||Russell, T. W.|
|Carson, Bt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Button, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Knowles, Lees||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Law, Andrew Bonar||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Lawrence, William F.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Lawson, John Grant||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.||Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Spear, John Ward|
|Chapman, Edward||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Stroyan, John|
|Charrington, Spencer||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cochrance, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Lowe, Francis William||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth)||Valentia, Viscout|
|Cranborne, Viscount||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Maconochie, A. W.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||M'Calmont. Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'ml'ts, S. Geo.||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Majendie, James A. H.||Wharton, Rt. Hn. J. Lloyd|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Middlemore, John T.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Milton, Viscount||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Mitchell, William||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Faber, George Denison||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Finch, George H.||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Younger, William|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Morrison, James Archibald||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ 2. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding 1530 £22,504, be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course, of payment during the year ending on the 31st 1531 day of March, 1902, for certain Miscellaneous Legal Expenses, including Grant in Aid of the Expenses of the Incorporated Law Societies of England and Ireland."
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
said that a protest ought to be made against this Vote for payments to be made to the Sheriffs of England and Wales for the expenses incurred in providing lodgings for the Judges on circuit and other outlays. This year it was larger than last year by £800. He would give the amounts for the last five years, in order to show that this item was, like the salaries of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, mounting up by leaps and bounds. In 1897–98 it was £13,580, in 1898–99, £19,850, in 1899–1900, £20,000, and last year it was £21,200. This year the estimate was £22,000. The Committee would see that in the very short space of four years this item alone had increased by £8,150, or 60 per cent. If the other Votes were increased in the same proportion it was no wonder that the expenditure had leaped up of late years from 100 millions to 200 millions. The sheriffs of the country had had no extra expenses of late; in fact, seeing that they had been relieved of their rates on agricultural rent they ought to have provided their services and performed their duties for a less amount than formerly. He asked the Government whether anything could be done to stop this tremendous increase. What was the reason of it? Was there greater luxury in entertaining the judges, or was there a greater number of judges, or had they to travel greater distances than formerly? It was significant of the general management of the finances of the country, and something should really be said about this staggering increase. He was not discussing the matter in any carping spirit, but that was one of the many increases which frequently appeared on the Estimates. There was no use in objecting to the Estimates en bloc; they should object to them in detail, and unless they lopped off unnecessary increases wherever they appeared they would not be able to do any good. At the present juncture the Committee ought to set itself with stern resolve to decrease unnecessary expendi- 1532 ture. He would not move a reduction, because a satisfactory explanation might be forthcoming; but if it were not, he hoped an Amendment would be moved, and he would support it.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that the Scotch Members had every reason to object to an item of this kind, because there was no corresponding item on the Scotch Estimates. In Scotland judges received a fixed salary, which included expenses on circuit, which he thought was a much better system than the English system. A judge on circuit was supposed to represent the Sovereign, and the sheriff had to provide him with a retinue and to surround him with pomp and ceremony even when there was no business. In fact, the less the business the greater the expense, because there was more time for dining and amusement. The sheriff was always a man of some standing and influence, and he accepted the position as being one of influence. The reason why the expenses went up from year to year was because each man wanted to do the thing a little better than his neighbour. The money came out of the Imperial purse; there was no check on it, and as long as it could be got without complaint the amount would go on increasing year by year. Each sheriff wanted champagne of a better brand than his predecessor, and he wanted a greater number of people invited to dine with the judge. They talked of economy, but there was no case, next to that of the salaries of the Attorney General and Solicitor General, which more needed economy than this. There was no reason why a judge on circuit could not live at a hotel without much expense. His dignity would be as great one way as the other. The days when it was thought expedient to impress the working classes with the dignity of a judge, and to strike terror into the minds of the common people, were gone, and the idea that a judge on circuit represented the Sovereign and must have a great retinue was a relic of olden times. Formerly in Scotland judges had a circuit allowance, but they received a certain sum in addition to their salaries to cover everything, and at present every judge in Scotland paid his own expenses. There was no parallel payment in the case of Scotland, and the 1533 Scotch Members objected to have an item on the Imperial Estimates which belonged to England alone. It was time the whole subject was reconsidered with a view to giving judges a certain allowance for circuit expenses.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am sure there is one subject in which the hon. Member who has just spoken will agree with me, and that is that everything is better managed in Scotland than in England. Without entering on the topics to which the hon. Member has referred, I think everyone will agree that there must be some expense attaching to the duties of sheriff. The office has always cost a great deal of money to those who have held it. A great many duties are imposed on sheriffs. They have to provide lodgings for the judges, to fit up the courts, and discharge various other functions. There are also various expenses connected with the reception of the judges, which, until 1898, the sheriffs bore out of their own pockets. In that year a grant of £6,000 was made towards reimbursing them for expenses incurred for public purposes. As regards the increase which is alleged to have taken place during the last few years, it has not been a great deal; I think it is only £800 on the whole Vote. I cannot undertake to enter into every detail, and I submit it is perfectly reasonable that a grant should be made to the sheriffs for these expenses, which have not been shown to be excessive.
§ MR. GODDARD
said he thought the explanation of the Attorney General very inadequate. The hon. and learned Member had failed to appreciate the figures laid before the Committee. The item was increasing yearly, and that was the case hon. Members made against it. How in the name of reason could they attempt anything like economy when such items were not only allowed to recur, but increased yearly? The Attorney General had missed the point. He said that the sheriffs had always met those expenses, but that was no reason why the amount should grow year by year. The Estimates were growing, and, in face of the serious financial position which the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented to the 1534 country, it behoved every hon. Member to look into the Estimates with a view to cutting them down. That was the bounden duty of the House of Commons, especially at such a critical financial time as the present. The figures presented to the Committee showed that it was not a question of an increase of £800 last year: it was a increase of £8,000 in five years; and although the Attorney General might say that an increase of £800 was paltry, yet, when the increase amounted to £8,000 in five years, it was a very serious matter which ought to be checked. No necessity had been shown for the increased expenditure they were asked to vote, and he would move that the £800 increase should be struck off. There was one item in the Vote regarding which no explanation whatever had been given. It was a sum of £100 which appeared under the following peculiar heading: "Rewards in Respect of Extraordinary Exertions in the Furtherance of Justice" What were the rewards for, and who conferred them? Was the sum really used, or was it returned to the Treasury? Although it was only £100 they ought to have an explanation of it.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
These are rewards made on the recommendations of the judges for services rendered in the interests of justice.
§ MR. GODDARD
said he was pleased to have elicited that information, and he believed it was the first time it was given. As the general answer had been unsatisfactory he thought the right course was to move to reduce the Vote by £800.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Repayments to Sheriffs' Expenses) be reduced by £800"—(Mr. Goddard.)
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Wexford, N.)
said that the Attorney General had practically given no information whatever about the Vote. As the matter affected the administration of the law in England the Attorney General might not have been intimately acquainted with the details of local administration, but the Solicitor General, who had a very 1535 wide experience in Ireland, might be able to give the information desired by the Committee. It was extremely gratifying to find that the Committee was in the humour to effect economy, and be congratulated the Committee on the zeal they bad shown in that direction. As an Irish Member he might be permitted to point out what he considered to be a grievance on English taxpayers. The Vote worked out at an average of £500 for each sheriff, whereas in Ireland the sheriff's expenses averaged only £150 a year, He did not say it was enough, but still if the Irish sheriffs did their work for £150 he did not see why the English sheriffs should get £500. Of course the duties of sheriffs were extremely important. They were charged with the care of the judges, in seeing that the majesty of the law was upheld, and in days gone by it used to be the habit to spend large sums of money in connection with assizes and in receiving and entertaining the judges. He was informed that the large increase in the Vote was mainly due to the administration of the present Government, and that it dated practically from 1898. The Attorney General made one statement which rather surprised him. He said that the sheriffs were responsible for fitting up the courts in England. In Ireland the courts were fitted up by the county councils, although when the Local Government Act for Ireland was passed they were told that they were not accepting any greater responsibility than county councils in England. The question was of considerable importance, and the Committee were entitled to have some further information on the subject, otherwise they would have to divide.
§ MR. SOAMES (Norfolk, S.)
said that the Attorney General had stated that he was not prepared to give details regarding the Vote, but it seemed to him that details were what the Committee required. It was only by having details that the Committee would be able to exercise an effective control over the rapidly increasing expenditure of the country. He desired to know if the £22,000 were expended in an equal grant to each sheriff or given in proportion to the private means of each sheriff.
§ MR. SOAMES
said he was glad to have elicited even that information. But the Committee did not know why the expenditure had increased by 60 per cent. in four years.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN,) Worcestershire, E.
As my hon. and learned friend has explained, the increase as compared with the expenditure four years ago is due to the change of policy begun in 1898. As my hon. and learned friend has already said, it was felt that it was not prudent or right, in view of the very heavy expense incurred, to throw on private individuals these public charges, and accordingly an increase in the Vote was made in order to repay the sheriffs certain expenses which they necessarily incurred in the discharge of their duties. A scale was laid down which, as my hon. and learned friend has said, varied in proportion to the sheriff in question, and in accordance the expenditure necessarily incurred by with the length of time the assizes lasted. The great bulk of the Vote is usual expenditure, always borne upon it, with the one addition I have mentioned. Hon. Members ask why the Estimate is £800 more this year than last. That is in part a matter of account. Certain items of receipt which previously were not paid into the Exchequer, but which were intercepted—properly so, of course—by the sheriffs are now paid into the Exchequer, and the whole of the authorised expenditure is paid out of the Vote. In addition to that, I ought to point out to the Committee that the sum taken last year was too small, and the expenditure was in excess of the sum voted. Under these circumstances we thought it expedient to take a larger sum this year in order that we might not be face to face with a similar situation next year.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
asked if the sums now paid direct to the Treasury appeared under any head.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said the hon. Member could not expect to find such a 1537 payment to the Exchequer as an appropriation in aid. He assumed that the principal charge under the Vote was to provide lodgings for the judges, but he found on page 236 of the Estimates that the judges themselves were allowed £9,700 for travelling expenses and allowances.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The £22,000 in the Vote is for providing the judges with lodgings; the allowance to the judges is for other expenses.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that the £9,700 was not part of the Vote for £22,000, and therefore fifteen judges cost £31,700 for travelling and lodging, which was at the rate of £2,000 a judge, in addition to the very large salary, not too large in his opinion, which each judge received. He thought the method of paying first of all a permanent salary, and then an extra allowance, was becoming a little abused. The Committee did not know whether the payments were large or small, as they had no details with regard to them. His opinion was that judges ought to pay their own travelling expenses, though it was quite right, if the sheriffs were bound to provide lodging for them, that they should be recouped. With regard to all such allowances, it was not adequate information to put down a lump sum and in some cases forbear to give absolutely necessary details for the discussion of the Vote. Although he was not disposed to vote against the item, he thought the Government should treat the Committee a little less cavalierly, and should not so jealously keep information to themselves. The Secretary to the Treasury would do well if he could to give the average cost of a judge's lodgings and other details, in order that the Committee might be able to decide whether the sum asked for was adequate.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
The cost of providing lodgings for the judges is borne by the sheriffs, and is repaid to them. The rest of the Vote is made up of various other charges.
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER
asked whether the large sum now under the consideration of the Committee did not arise 1538 in the main owing to the increase of the number of assizes in certain counties from two to four in the year. Originally the sheriffs paid all expenses themselves, but where the number of assizes were increased he believed the sheriffs received some assistance towards the additional expense. There was no unpaid office which necessitated a higher expenditure than that of sheriff, and he was a happy man who got through his year of office at an expenditure of under four figures. As to the allowances to judges, he would put it to the Secretary to the Treasury whether originally the judges were not all paid the same salary, with an allowance for travelling which was included in the £5,000 a year. When the Chancery judges ceased to go circuit the common law judges complained that though the Chancery judges did not go circuit they had the advantage in their salaries of the sum allowed for travelling expenses, and he would like to know whether the Treasury did not then substitute a certain allowance for the judge's travelling expenses, a sum which varied according to the number of days he was absent from London? He thought that was an unwise and extravagant arrangement, and he should be glad if they could be told that the Treasury were disposed to reconsider it.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said he did not think the speech the right hon. Gentleman had just made in support of the Government—ߞ
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER
I have made no speech in support of the Government. I have endeavoured simply to get at the facts. I happen to know some of the facts—I do not think the hon. Member does—but I am in absolute ignorance of what has happened since 1898. I was simply trying to get to know whether the Government is right or wrong. I have expressed my disapprobation of the present system in regard to one matter, and it is not fair to say, when I am endeavouring to elicit the facts, that I am speaking in support of the Government.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said he was glad to hear that explanation of the right 1539 hon. Gentleman. He had not suggested that the right hon. Gentleman was defending the allowances to the sheriffs, and he did not see that he had imputed anything that was dishonourable to the right hon. Gentleman. He accepted not merely readily, but with pleasure, his explanation on the point. These additional allowances to the sheriffs were said to be due to policy and not to any question of account. As a matter of fact these allowances in respect to the lodgings for judges were simply another dole to the landlords. Sometimes it was an agricultural grant, sometimes a land tax, and sometimes it was buried in some other form, as in the present case. There ought to be an end put to these grants-in-aid to the landlords. The position of sheriff was a position of honour, and those who took it should be prepared to pay the burden.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that, no doubt, was so, but the sheriffs were taken from the commission of the peace, and these gentlemen, when they sought the honour of becoming magistrates and justices of the peace, perfectly well knew they ran the risk of being selected as sheriffs, and they should be prepared to bear the burden. He would like to know whether there was any audit of these accounts.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid)
said his hon. friend had not mastered this subject with his usual thoroughness. It had of late been a matter of great difficulty to find persons who would serve as sheriffs. He knew of two men selected to act as sheriffs in two Welsh counties who were not on the rota of justices of the peace. It was very difficult to get men to serve as sheriffs, and he thought there ought to be a permanent paid official appointed to the office. The allowance to judges on circuit was £7 10s. per day, and he considered it was a fair and reasonable allowance. There were some judges in 1540 receipt of £5,000 a year who were never expected to go out of London. At one time the Chancery judges were sent on circuit, and, if he might be allowed to use the expression, "a pretty hash they made of it," and now that the Common Law judges were expected to go on circuit it was not unfair to give them this allowance.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said that the allowance for judges was fixed by an Order in Council in 1878. That Order in Council provided £7 10s. a day, together with first class railway fare, but no further travelling allowance, and first-class railway fare for one clerk. In consideration of this arrangement, the judges had agreed to dispense with their second clerk when the positions became vacant, and all those persons had now been dispensed with, so that the actual result was a saving to the country of £2,000 a year. The bargain had, therefore, not been altogether unprofitable to the country. He thought the suggestion of the hon. Member for Mid Glamorgan to abandon voluntary service in the office of sheriff and appoint a permanent paid official would be more costly than the present system, with its allowance to the sheriff for expenses.
§ * SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
said that the grant, which had been referred to by the hon. Gentleman opposite as a dole, seemed to him to have a distinctly democratic tendency, and upon that ground he was surprised at the opposition it evoked. At the present moment, owing to the expenses entailed, the honour of taking part in the administration of justice as sheriff was confined to the rich, and a grant which enabled everyone to share the honour was democratic and very proper. Moreover, the system prior to the grant was compulsory class taxation of a very onerous kind upon a class which had not been too well able to bear such a heavy impost.
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
desired to know how it was that the expenses of the sheriff were so much higher in England than in Ireland. In England they were £500 and in Ireland the same duties were performed for £150.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said that all were agreed that the sheriffs should be reimbursed for any expenses they were put to in connection with the judges' lodgings, but there was a tendency to increase in respect of other items which ought to be checked. All that the Amendment asked was that a stop should be put to this increase, which in some cases amounted to as much as 60 per cent. in five years. He felt that that increase in the expenditure was due not to the absolutely necessary expenditure of the sheriff, but in a considerable degree to the lavish entertainment they all heard of when a judge came into their neighbourhoods.
§ SIR EDWARD CARSON
The hon. Member for North Wexford asked for specific information. I can only say there is no way of ascertaining, now, at all events, how it is the expenditure of the sheriffs in this country is so much higher than the expenditure in Ireland. I would like to remind the Committee that under the Sheriffs' Act all the expenditure of the sheriffs has to be taxed by the auditor appointed by the Treasury, and only such accounts as are vouched to the satisfaction of the auditor are paid.
§ MR. URE (Linlithgowshire)
said the system of Scotland was infinitely superior to that of England, although the system of administration was identically the same. A Scotch judge when he went on circuit was expected to defray out of his salary all the incidental expenses connected with the administration of justice so far as he was personally concerned—his own travelling expenses, and his hotel bill and matters of that sort. But in England all the expenditure was thrown on the sheriff. How was it that a judge on circuit could not find good accommodation in the various towns, in the same way as a Scotch judge? Surely out of a salary of £5,000 a judge might be expected to bear the moderate charges of a hotel. He sympathised with the right hon. Member for East Wolverhampton in his opinion, and he strongly advocated the assimilation of the practice of England with that of Scotland.
§ * SIR JOHN DORINGTON (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)
said that formerly 1542 the duty of providing for the dignity of the judges was thrown upon the sheriffs; it was thought to be unfair to continue the practice, and, in consequence, for many years these items had been borne by the Estimates. In the county he represented the sheriffs years ago used to provide accommodation for the judges at assizes and put them up at hotels. It was most unsatisfactory, and consequently the judges found fault with it. Permanent accommodation was then provided by this country. The sheriff paid over the sum he received by way of allowance to the county, an amount which did not cover the actual cost, and the balance was defrayed from county rate. He was entirely in accord with this particular grant to the sheriffs, and could see no reason why it should be reduced.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said that although they had had a great deal of discussion on this matter the Committee had not the data upon which they could properly debate the question. He therefore asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he would grant a Return giving the scale upon which these charges were settled, and also the amounts paid last year, not to individuals, but to the different counties.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I cannot promise to give that information off-hand, but I will make inquiries. I can, however, give the hon. Member some information in respect of the amounts paid to the sheriffs themselves. The high sheriff receives for each day's attendance up to eight days five guineas, and for each subsequent attendance three guineas. The under-sheriff receives for each day's attendance up to eight days three guineas, and for each subsequent attendance two guineas. The clerk receives one guinea for each day. That is in addition to the amount allowed for lodging for the judges.
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
asked whether the sheriff's personal expenses amounted to five guineas a day.
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Hy.||Hammond, John||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hardie, J. K. (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Dowd, John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Mara, James|
|Bell, Richard||Helme, Norval Watson||Partington, Oswald|
|Blake, Edward||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Boland, John||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Rea, Russell|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Holland, William Henry||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Boyle, James||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Reddy, M.|
|Brigg, John||Jacoby, James Alfred||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Jameson, Maj. J. Eustace||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Burt, Thomas||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rigg, Richard|
|Caine, William Sproston||Joyce, Michael||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Caldwell, James||Kennedy, Patrick James||Roche, John|
|Cameron, Robert||Labouchere, Henry||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Sinclair, Capt John (Forfarshire|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leamy, Edmund||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Levy, Maurice||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R (Northants|
|Colville, John||Lloyd-George, David||Sullivan, Donal|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Lundon, W.||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Crean, Eugene||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gow'r|
|Cullinan, J.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Tully, Jasper|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Cann, James||Ure, Alexander|
|Delany, William||M'Dermott, Patrick||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||M'Govern, T.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Dillon, John||Mooney, John J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Doogan, P. C.||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||Moss, Samuel||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Murphy, J.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nolan, Joseph (Loath, South)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norman, Henry||Mr. Goddard and Mr. George Whiteley.|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry Mid|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bill, Charles||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Brassey, Albert||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bull, William James||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Butcher, John George||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Austin, Sir John||Carlile, William Walter||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cautley, Henry Strother||Dewar, T. R (T'rH'mlets, S. Geo|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. Manch'r||Cavendish, V C. W. (Derbyshire||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Cecil, Evelyn (Ashton Manor)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Dorington, Sir John Edward|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Chapman, Edward||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Charrington, Spencer||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)|
|Bigwood, James||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Faber, George Denison|
§ glad to get off at anything like that sum.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 118: Noes, 181. [Division List No. 152.]
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Ridley, Hon M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Finch, George H.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lowe, Francis William||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Fltzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Flower, Ernest||Macartney, Rt. Hon. W. G. E.||Russell, T. W.|
|Forster, Henry William||Macdona, John Cumming||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Garfit, William||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Gordon, Maj Ev'ns- (T'rH'mlets||Maconochie, A. W.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertfond, East)|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Majendie, James A. H.||Spear, John Ward|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Malcolm, Ian||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn L'rdG (Midd'x||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesshire||Stroyan, John|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'n'nderry||Middlemore, John T.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Morgan, David J (Walthamst'w||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Tomlinson, W. Edw. Murray|
|Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Morrison, James Archibald||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Helder, Augnstus||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Henderson, Alexander||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wason, John C. (Orkney)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Webb, Colonel William Geo.|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Newdigate, Francis Alex.||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Hope, J. F. (Shef'ld, Brightside||Nicholson, William Graham||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Horner, Frederick William||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Ho ward, John (Kent, F'versh'm||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Pierpoint, Robert||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Johnstone, Hey wood (Sussex)||Plummer, Walter R.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W (Salop)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Knowles, Lees||Purvis, Robert||Younger, William|
|Law, Andrew Bonar||Randles, John S.|
|Lawson, John Grant||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)||Ratcliffe, R. F.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Remnant, James Farquharson|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
asked for some explanation as to the doings of that expensive and mysterious body, the Railway and Canal Commission. Did the country get any return for the expenditure incurred in connection with that tribunal? It was very difficult to bring any case before the Commission, and when a case had been brought there appeared to be no means by which its decision could be enforced. There was a case which excited a great deal of interest among the trading community for many years connected with the carriage of "smalls." After a long contest the matter was brought before the Commissioners, and tried in the case of Smith and Morris v. The London and North-Western Railway Company and ten other railway companies. The case lasted several months, and eventually a decision was 1546 given entirely in favour of the traders. The decision was everything the traders could ask for, but it had been simply laughed at by the railway companies. Another case was with regard to workmen's trains in London. Again the decision of the Commissioners was absolutely in favour of the plaintiffs, but it had been practically set at naught—not absolutely or altogether, but the decision had not been carried out even by the company against which it was given. Could the Government do nothing to enforce decisions which had been obtained at such great expense to the traders and farmers of the country? The present position of affairs was a perfect scandal, and some step should be taken to put an end to it or to the Commission. The Commission was, to a certain extent, a fraud, and there should he some other means of controlling the railway companies, which in many ways were thro- 1547 tling the life of some of the industries of the country.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I think the hon. Member is under some misapprehension in regard to this matter. He refers to a particular case in reference to "smalls," in which the decision of the Commissioners had no effect given to it. There must be some special circumstances attending that case, and until one knows all the details it is impossible to give the hon. Gentleman any information in regard to it. As to the allegation that the orders of the Commission are not enforceable, all I can say is that the hon. Member is under a complete misapprehension. They may be enforced by any rule of the superior Courts, and under the Act of 1888 a railway company is liable to very heavy penalties for every day it disobeys such orders. There must be some very special circumstances in the particular case to which the hon. Member refers.
§ MR. LOUGH
was sorry to receive such a weak reply. The case was a well-known case, and one which it was agreed between the traders and the railway companies should be referred to the Commission for decision. He had given full details; he asserted that not one of the companies had carried out the obligation the Commissioners had laid upon them, and he thought the Committee should have a proper reply in regard to the matter before they proceeded further.
§ MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
said that the hon. Member referred, no doubt, to a very well-known case, and, as he was acquainted with the facts of that case, he could assure the hon. Member that the order of the Commission had been entirely obeyed.
§ MR. LOUGH dissented.
§ MR. CRIPPS
said he happened to know all the details of the case, and he also knew that the railway companies had obeyed the order. He would further point out that not only were there the ordinary facilities in legal proceedings for enforcing the orders of the Commission, but there were special powers 1548 for imposing penalties on railway companies if they disregarded those orders. He did not know of a single instance in which the decision of the Commission had not been obeyed. Probably not a tithe of the cases came into court at all, but were settled for the very reason that Parliament had provided a court. The country had had the advantage of having some of the best judges to preside over the Commission, its decisions had generally given satisfaction, and certainly they had always been attended to.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
, referring to the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Stretford that not a tithe of the cases were really brought into court, pointed out that as a matter of fact the average number of cases during the last four years brought into court before the Commissioners was twenty-five. The total number of cases, some of which were settled out of court, was 100, so that the actual proportion brought into court was one-fourth.
§ MR. CRIPPS
remarked that cases were settled without any court proceedings at all simply because there was a court.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
thought the country was paying a very large sum for a Commission which settled twenty-five cases in a year. He contended that the Commission ought to be more generally accessible to the traders of the country. Only an infinitesimal proportion of the cases that ought to be brought were actually brought before the Commission. The efficiency of the court could, he thought, be greatly increased if it were possible to appoint Sub-Commissioners, and to make some rearrangement of the court so that more cases might be heard. Every case affecting an Irish railway company had to be settled by this Court in London. Could the hon. and learned Gentleman give a single case which had been decided in Ireland?
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that, according to the reports for the last two years, cases affecting Irish railways had been dealt with in London.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said he should be very happy to prove what be had stated to the hon. and learned Member. In regard to the difficulties connected with appearing before this Commission, he would venture to support the hon. Member for West Islington as to the illegal charges made by the railway companies of this country. Some years ago, when he had occasion to go into this matter rather carefully, a trader supplied him with the different rates charged, and he drew the attention of the President of the Board of Trade to them. There were different columns showing the legal rate and the rate which the company did actually charge, against which the trader was unable to protect himself. It was shown that the railway companies charged higher rates than they were legally entitled to. As regarded the agricultural trades, the farmer was charged a much higher rate than the man who was in a position to make a bargain with the railway company. His intention was to show that, as a matter of fact, unless railway companies were constantly overhauled they made illegal charges.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
contended that there ought to be a tribunal established which would be more accessible to the traders of the country than the Railway and Canal Commission. He wished to know whether it was not possible to so arrange the work of the Railway and Canal Commission as to make it possible for a much larger number of cases to be heard in different parts of the country, so as to prevent the necessity of traders coming up to London. This practice was absolutely prohibited in the case of a large number of traders. 1550 When a big colliery company or a railway company had a quarrel with another largo company they were generally powerful enough to fight their own battles—
* THE CHAIRMAN
Order, order! The hon. Member is not entitled to make this an opportunity for attacking the policy of railway companies.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
pointed out that every case affecting an Irish railway company had to be settled by this court sitting in London. [Cries of "No."] Could the Solicitor General mention one case which had been settled in Ireland?
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said that he had the Reports of the Commission showing that such cases had been brought to London.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
said he could prove that he was right. The cost of appearing before the Commission was prohibitive to small traders. In conclusion, he would only say that as railway companies had every possible advantage on their side when they appeared before the Railway and Canal Commission, he trusted that the Government would find means to enable the traders to have a much more accessible Court of Appeal than the present Railway and Canal Commission.
§ MR. LOUGH
said he had been placed in a most embarrassing position. It was very inconvenient when they differed about matters of fact, and the hon. and learned Member opposite had said that what he had stated was practically false. Before presuming to bring the matter before the House he wrote to the Board of Trade, and he received a reply on the 11th of January, five months 1551 after the decision had been given. They sent him a copy of the correspondence received from the London and North-Western Railway, the Great Western Railway Company, and the Midland Railway Company, and from the other ten companies to which he had alluded. The reply was to the effect that the companies were considering what they should do, and they practically refused to be bound by the decision. He knew that this was not the occasion to argue the matter out, but he thought he had said sufficient to satisfy the Committee that he had prima facie grounds for bringing the matter forward. For about one month he had not been following the matter, and perhaps during that time they had carried out their decision. He thought it was the business of the Government to take up this point and give him an answer.
§ * SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
said that he had every respect for his hon. friend's opinion as a lawyer, but he wished to say that the opinion of commercial bodies was very strong in the direction that this tribunal was a most costly and cumbersome one. The difficulty of getting its decisions was owing to its inaccessibility on the ground of cost and trouble. As far as he was able to judge he did not think a private trader could approach such a tribunal at all. At present nearly the whole of the litigation was carried on between the railway companies and associations of traders; and what they wanted was a cheap tribunal which would enable a private trader to have an opportunity of redressing any injustice which might be inflicted upon him by a powerful corporation or public body. With regard to the cost of this tribunal, he would quote from the Report of the Commission itself, for it contained some very significant figures which showed that it was very costly. The total cost of the Railway and Canal Commission last year was £6,500, in addition to the proportionate
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud||Bell, Richard||Burke, E. Haviland-|
|Ambrose, Robert||Boland, John||Caldwell, James|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Cameron, Robert|
|Austin, Sir John||Boyle, James||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Brigg, John||Causton, Richard Knight|
§ cost of a Judge of the High Court to preside over it, for although the official business was transacted in England the court could sit either in England or in Ireland, presided over by an Irish judge, or in Scotland presided over by a Scotch one. The cases entered, including many which were merely formal, were ninety-two. There were only thirty-two hearings, or parts of hearings, so the cost of each case heard was £200. That, of course, meant expensive fees, which were very high in that court. He ventured to say that when a private trader required protection against any oppression on the part of a powerful body a tribunal of that sort, with its array of judges, highly paid commissioners, counsel, expert, and other witnesses, etc., was no use whatever. The railway companies had always been extremely anxious to make the Railway Commission the court of ultimate appeal, and they did not want a more accessible body. He did not say that with any feeling against the railway companies, but he thought their interests and those of the public would be best served if railway rates were speedily adapted and adjusted according to the constantly varying, demands of trade and by commercial necessities; and if that could be done without the cost and trouble of the Railway and Canal Commission it would be very much the better for the trade and business of the country.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
then moved the reduction of the Vote by £100, remarking that he thought that, after the speech of the President of the London Chamber of Commerce, the House ought to express its sense of the costliness of the Railway and Canal Commission.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That Item B (Salaries of Railway and Canal Commissioners) be reduced by £200."—(Mr. Herbert Lewis.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 112; Noes, 117. (Division List No. 153.)
|Cogan, Denis J.||Labouchere, Henry||Priestley, Arthur|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Lambert, George||Rea, Russell|
|Crean, Eugene||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Cullinan, J.||Leamy, Edmund||Reddy, M.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Levy, Maurice||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Lloyd-George, David||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Delany, William||Lundon, W.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Rigg, Richard|
|Doogan, P. C.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roche, John|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Arthur William (Cornwall)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Dermott, Patrick||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Govern, T.||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Mooney, John J.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Fenwick, Charles||Morton, Edw. J.C. (Devonport)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Moss, Samuel||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R (Northants|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Murphy, J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Newnes, Sir George||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gow'r|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Nolan Joseph (Louth, South)||Tully, Jasper|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Norman, Henry||Ure, Alexander|
|Hammond, John||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Wason, E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Dowd, John||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Mara, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Jordon, Jeremiah||Partington, Oswald||Mr. Herbert Lewis and Mr. Strachey.|
|Joyce, Michael||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Heath, James (Staffs., N. W.)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Helder, Augustus|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cranborne, Viscount||Henderson, Alexander|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hn. John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside|
|Balfour, lit. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r)||Dewar, T. R. (T'rH"mlets, S Geo.||Horner, Frederick William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Johnston, William (Belfast,)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Duke, Henry Edward||Knowles, Lees|
|Bigwood, James||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Bill, Charles||Faber, George Denison||Lawson, John Grant|
|Bond, Edward||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareh'm|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J. (Manc'r||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Finch, George H.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Brassey, Albert||Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)|
|Bull, William James||Fitzroy, Hn. Edw. Algernon||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Butcher, John George||Forster, Henry William||Lowe, Francis William|
|Carlile, William Walter||Garfit, William||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'mlts||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. Ellison|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Goschen, Hn. Geo. Joachim||Macdona, John dimming|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Graham, Henry Robert||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G (Midd'x||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'derry)||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesh.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Montagu, (G. (Huntingdon)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Thornton, Percy M.|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Ratcliffe, R. F.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Morgan, David J. (Walthams' w)||Reid, James (Greenock)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Valentia Viscount|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute)||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Welby, Lt-Col. A. C. E (Taunt'n)|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Murray, Col. Wyndharam (Bath)||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Russell, T. W.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Spear, John Ward||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Plummer, Walter||Stroyan, John||Younger, William|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Purvis, Robert||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Randles, John S.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxfd Univ|
§ Original Question again proposed:—
§ * MR. EUGENE WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)
said he desired to call the attention of the Committee for a very short time to an item which appeared on page 254 of £3,000 a year—£2,500 to the Incorporated Law Society of England and £500 to the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. He had been a member for some ten years of that Society in London, from 1876 to 1886, and during those years they had no grant in any shape or form given to them by the Government. He ventured to say that the work at that time was done quite as satisfactorily at it was at the present time. There was no similar grant made for Scotland. They had heard a good deal about doles, but he ventured to say that this was one of the worst possible description, because it was a dole given to a wealthy body who did not require it, and to a body of men who were perfectly able to take care of themselves. The money given to this society was subject to no sort or kind of audit. Had it not been for the assistance in obtaining this grant given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton—who was to be President of the Incorporated Law Society next year—and the late Mr. Gregory, a former President of the Incorporated Law Society, and deservedly respected in this House, he did not think that the Committee of this House would ever have sanctioned such a grant. He saw no reason why a grant of this sort should not be given with equal justice to 1556 the members of the bar, the medical profession, or to the bishops. The society did without that grant during the time he was a member of it, and if such a proposal had been brought forward by a private Member it would have been laughed out of the House. Practically, there was only one justification why this grant had ever been made, and it was the fact that solicitors had a very heavy annual fee to pay. He did not see why a solicitor should have such a heavy impost put upon him, but that was no reason why they should vote annually a sum of money over which they had no control whatever.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item L be reduced by £500, in respect of Grants in Aid of the Incorporated Law Societies of England and Ireland."—(Mr. Eugene Wason.)
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER
As my hon. friend has attributed to me an influence in this matter of which I am entirely guiltless, perhaps I am entitled at once to set him right upon this point. It is a mistake to suppose that I had any influence or interest in the matter. In 1888—in which year my hon. friend says he ceased to be a member, and when I was not a member of the Council of the Law Society—an Act was passed through Parliament which, so far from my supporting, I took considerable part in opposing and modifying. The Act provided for the appointment by the Master of the Rolls of a statutory committee for the purpose of inquiring into charges against 1557 solicitors, and of making, if the committee so reported, an application to strike a solicitor off the rolls. That committee was to consist of seven members of the Council of the Incorporated Law Society. The object of that Act, an object I think wall founded, was to save expense, and to promote the more rapid dealing with solicitors guilty of dishonourable conduct, in lieu of the expensive and protracted proceeding of going before a Master of the Queen's Bench. This committee was empowered to hear all serious complaints, to hear all the charges very fully. If they thought them well founded, after hearing both sides, and if they were of opinion that further action should be taken, then they were to bring the matter before the court. I know nothing of the proceedings except by the ordinary sources of information which are open to every member of the society. This committee has been in operation for, I think, upwards of twelve years. I have the figures for eleven of these years, and I find that they have heard 1,242 applications. A large number of these cases were unfounded and dismissed, but I may say that the general result has been that they made reports to the, Court on 275 cases, and a considerable number of offending solicitors have been removed from the roll, while others have been acquitted of the charges. Their reports have not only met with the approval of Lord Esher, Mr. Justice Wills, the Lord Chancellor and other distinguished judges, but the actual figures show how the courts have been impressed with the work of the committee. There have been only eight over rulings of the decisions of the committee by the Divisional Court, and although there have been eleven appeals, only in two cases have those appeals been successful. I think that shows that the body has discharged its judicial duties in a satisfactory and efficient manner. All this has involved very great expense. I am sure my hon. friend had not the figures before him. When I tell him that the actual expenditure has been on an average over £5,000 a year, he will see that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not acting too liberally when he dealt with this application. It was, I think, in 1897 the application came before Parliament, and the Chan- 1558 cellor then suggested to the House that a grant should be given, and it was left practically in his hands to fix the amount after investigation. At all events, the House by a majority, on the 11th of May, 1897, resolved—That this House is of opinion that a portion of the expense incurred by the Incorporated Law Society, while fulfilling the duties imposed upon it by satute, should be defrayed out of public funds.My hon. friend says that since that time this money has been subject to no audit, He is misinformed. All that money is submitted to audit, and not passed without being very carefully vouched in every sense. The bulk of the cases arise in this way. A person who considers himself aggrieved brings his case to the society, and he is given the means of paying solicitor and counsel. The expenses which are incurred are principally sums of money to solicitors and counsel on behalf of applicants, and every year during the last five years the amount of the grant was considerably less than the actual payments to solicitors and counsel for the work they had done. I come to the case in which the hon. Member for Northampton has taken a great interest—the case of Mr. F., as it was called in court the other day, in regard to which I think there was a prima facie case for examination. It was a case apparently of very considerable oppression on the part of the solicitors, and it was a case that demanded investigation. In the first instance the committee did not think it demanded investigation. They subsequently changed their minds, and it was investigated. I do not know whether my hon. friend has any idea of the cost of that investigation. The cost of that investigation has already amounted to £1,169 19s. 10d. It was a most elaborate and protracted inquiry, and the committee, when it was completed, found that, although they did not approve of the conduct of the solicitor in some respects, it was a case in which they could not advise further legal proceedings. The High Court confirmed the view of the committee. Well, the aggrieved party naturally was dissatisfied with this decision, and he wanted to appeal, He came to the Incorporated Law Society and said, "Will you pay the costs of my appeal to the Court of Appeal?" I 1559 advised my colleagues to pay that money. They agreed to pay a fee of a hundred guineas, and this week the Court of Appeal has affirmed the decision already given, that there was no case and no action to justify criminal proceedings. They thought the solicitor had been guilty of unwise and irregular conduct in the matter, and they have inflicted on him the penalty of paying the costs.
§ * SIR HENRY FOWLER
We have paid on behalf of the gentleman whom my friend says has been robbed all the expenses for his solicitors and counsel. That is the position. This committee have judicial duties. I believe they have discharged them to the best of their ability. I think they are not called upon to—nor will they as a matter of fact—continue to discharge all the expenses amounting to large sums. The present arrangement, I believe, is working well. The society is in close harmony and touch with the Public Prosecutor, and they are rendering a great public service at comparatively small expense to the community in carrying out those duties. I have no authority to make any appeal for the society, but I only tell the Committee the facts. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary to the Treasury know how the expenditure of the grant is audited.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I cannot help thinking that this reduction has been moved under a sort of misapprehension. The old procedure with regard to offences of this kind was exceedingly cumbersome. It was considered in 1888 that it would be very much better that the Committee of the Incorporated Law Society should consider these matters, investigate the charges, and afterwards bring them before the court. I desire to read to the Committee an expression of opinion by Lord Esher and the present Mr. Justice Wills in regard to the way in which this committee has done its work. Lord Esher said in hearing a case on 28th January, 1897—It was impossible to find a tribunal which exercised its functions with greater care and diligence than this committee,1560 and Mr. Justice Wills in April, 1899, spoke of it as—a most careful body, which gives such valuable assistance to the court.Here is a body that has commanded the praise of everyone who knows anything of the subject, and in the discharge of their duties they necessarily incur expenses, which have been returned to the Treasury, and which are open to the examination of the Treasury. They amount to something over £5,000 a year. The expenses have been far in excess of the amount of this annual grant. Under these circumstances I would ask the Committee whether it would not be a mistake to go back from the position which has been taken up. We are having this work admirably done. We are making a grant that represents only about half the expenses which the committee of the society incurs, and I would desire to make an appeal to the Committee to bring this matter as speedily as may be to a conclusion in order that the Vote may be taken tonight.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said it was really not fair that they should be called upon not to go into the matter but to vote because it was near twelve o'clock, and then go on comfortably for another year. He did not complain of what his right hon. friend the Member for East Wolverhampton had said with regard to the facts, but he complained of the colour he had put on the facts. His right hon. friend said perfectly truly that the Act of 1888 was passed giving powers to the Committee of the Incorporated Law Society, but it was not the public that demanded that Act. It was brought in at the request of the Incorporated Law Society, who wished to make a family party of the whole thing, and to have the matter in their own hands. There must be a great many black sheep among the profession. He found from the statement of his right hon. friend that the complaints against solicitors brought before this tribunal were 1,242, and of that number the society only reported on 275; in all the others they sided with the solicitors. The real complaint against the society was that solicitors were being tried by solicitors. 1561 The public were not represented on this committee. The Attorney General quoted two judges who were very much satisfied with the action of the committee. All he could say was that the former head of the disciplinary committee was at present enjoying the hospitality of the country in one of His Majesty's prisons, and they might judge from that in what an extraordinary manner justice was administered by the committee. What happened was this. When some small solicitor was brought before them they were very severe against him, but when some large and important solicitor was brought before them they took a very kindly view of the matter. He did not say that it was their fault. The truth was that there was that sort of trade unionism among the solicitors which existed in all callings. When they had been probably on friendly terms with the gentleman accused, they whitewashed him if they possibly could. His light hon. friend alluded to a gentleman under the name of Mr. F. It was perfectly true he had called attention to that matter, and the late Lord Chief Justice also took up the case of Mr. F. The late Lord Chief Justice did his best to get the Incorporated Law Society to look into this matter, and could not. When the present Lord Chief Justice was Master of the Rolls he insisted on the incorporated Law Society doing their duty. The Master of the Rolls expressed the opinion "that there was a prima facie case for investigation." That was a delicate way of directing the society to inquire into the matter, and the result was that they did inquire. If the Lord Chief Justice when Master of the Rolls had not been in a position to use his power as head and superior of this society, there would not have been an inquiry. The hon. Member had not seen the report, but, as he gathered, the society did find fault with the gentleman in question, but at the same time they whitewashed him.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Mr. F. failed technically, but he may have been in the right. The hon. Member said he would rest his point on this. The society was a 1562 society of solicitors to try solicitors, without the public being represented. For a considerable time the head of the disciplinary committee that was charged with the duty of deciding whether they would report in the first instance was a solicitor who at present was in one of His Majesty's prisons. There were a large number of cases at the time, of solicitors taking an erroneous view of property that did not belong to them, and this particular solicitor was one of them. Under these circumstances he thought they should not agree to give this money any further to the society. He should certainly vote for the reduction of £500 moved by his hon. friend, but his only complaint was that there would still remain £2,000 for him subsequently to ask the House to disallow.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that a more scandalous piece of extravagance than this was never perpetrated on the public. He undertook to say that if for one happy hour he could clear the House of lawyers he could sweep away this charge by a majority of two to one. The history of this grant was discreditable to the Incorporated Law Society, and most discreditable to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who told them that he was always reproving his colleagues for extravagance, had without the slightest necessity invented this charge on the public exchequer. There were a number of gentlemen called solicitors, and for some reason or other they were in such a habit of mind with regard to the property of other persons that they required exceptional disciplinary treatment from that required in other callings. He had never heard of an incorporated society of bakers to see that bakers did not give short weight, or of grocers to see that they did not mix sand with the sugar. It was only the solicitors who said that there were so many rogues amongst them that they must have this committee. In the year 1888 a solicitor conceived the idea of getting further powers—hence the Act of 1888. In 1896, the solicitors having in the meantime been striking each other oft the rolls merrily, and mostly the wrong men, the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed this charge. The whole House rose 1563 against it, the lawyers not having been whipped up, and it was withdrawn; but shortly afterwards a solicitors' whip was made, a resolution was moved on a Wednesday afternoon, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer perpetrated this extraordinary extravagance, and saddled the country with a charge of £2,500 a year, to enable fraudulent solicitors to strike other fraudulent solicitors off the rolls. He analysed the expenses last year, or the year before, and had a disagreement with his hon. friend the Member for South Islington with respect to a charge for rent.
§ * SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
said there was a ledger item for rent, but it was only in respect of the portion of the premises actually occupied in doing the work deputed to the society by Act of Parliament. His hon. friend's difference, however, had not been with himself, but with the late Attorney General, who it was that demurred to the allegation of a charge for rent.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said it was a charge which should not be called expense of that sort. But whether that was so or not, this country ought not to
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G (Mid'x|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'rry|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cranborne, Viscount||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cust, Henry John C.||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dalkeith, Earl of||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Dewar, T R. (T'rH'mlets, S. Geo.||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Helder, Augustus|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P||Henderson, Alexander|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightsd.|
|Bond, Edward||Duke, Henry Edward||Howard, John (Kent, Faversh'm|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Faber, George Denison||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Brassey, Albert||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. Salop|
|Bull, William James||Finch, George H.||Knowles, Lees|
|Butcher, John George||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Law, Andrew Bonor|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fisher, William Hayes||Lawrence, William F.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Lawson, John Grant|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Forster, Henry William||Lee, Arthur H (Hants. Fareham|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Garfit, William||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gordon, Maj. Evans- (T'rH'lets)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon J. (Birm.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S|
|Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc')||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Lowe, Francis William|
|Chapman, Edward||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Graham, Henry Robert||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Green, Walford D (Wednesb'ry||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
§ be called upon to pay £2,500 a year for any such purpose as this. He would divide against it, and use all his influence against it. He was sorry indeed, that he had not more influence. If no other item whatever should be struck off the national expenses, this one at least ought to go.
§ * MR. BUTCHER (York)
rose to speak, but, it being midnight, the Chairman proceeded to interrupt the business.
§ * MR. BUTCHER
stated that he did not object to the moving of the closure, and he declined to act as a teller against it; thereupon the Chairman named Mr. Eugene Wason in his place.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 168; Noes, 94. [Division List No. 154.]
|Macartney, Rt. Hn. W G Ellison||Parkes, Ebenezer||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Pemberton, John S. G.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Percy, Earl||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thomas, J. A. (Glam., Gower|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.||Plummer, Walter R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Malcolm, Ian||Purvis, Robert||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Randles, John S.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Ratcliffe, R. F.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Remnant, James Farquharson||Webb, Col. William George|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge||Welby, Lt-Col. A. C. E. (Taunt'n|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Whitmore, Charle Algernon|
|Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Rollit Sir Albert Kaye||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Wilson-Todd. Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Morton, Arthur H. A (Deptford)||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Smith, Abel H. (Hereford, E.)||Young, Commander (Berks, E)|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks)||Younger, William|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Spear, John Ward||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M 'Taggart||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Hammond, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Mara, James|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Partington, Oswald|
|Bell, Richard||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bill, Charles||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Priestley, Arthur|
|Boland, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Rea, Russell|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jordan, Jeremiah||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Boyle, James||Joyce, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Brigg, John||Kennedy, Patrick James||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Lambert, George||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Caldwell, James||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Rigg, Richard|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Leamy, Edmund||Roche, John|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Levy, Maurice||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lundon, W.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (N'th'nts|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Strachey, Edward|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Dermott, Patrick||Sullivan, Donal|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Govern, T.||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Delany, William||Mooney, John J.||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Morton, Edw. J.C. (Devonport)||Tully, Jasper|
|Doogan, P. C.||Moss, Samuel||Ure, Alexander|
|Duffy, William J.||Murphy, J.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Edwards, Frank||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Elibank, Master of||Newnes, Sir George||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Norman, Henry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Mr. Labouchere and Mr. Eugene Wason.|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
§ Question put accordingly, "That Item L be reduced by £500, in respect of Grants in Aid of the In-
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Atherley-Jones, L.||Bell, Richard|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Barry; E. (Cork, S.)||Boland, John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Bolton, Thomas Dolling|
§ corporated. Law Societies of England and Ireland."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 94; Noes, 165. [Division List No. 155.]
|Boyle, James||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||O'Dowd, John|
|Brigg, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshi'e||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Mara, James|
|Caldwell, James||Joyce, Michael||Partington, Oswald|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Kennedy, Patrick James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Labouchere, Henry||Priestley, Arthur|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lambert, George||Rea, Russell|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Crean, Eugene||Leamy, Edmund||Reddy, M.|
|Cullinan, J.||Levy, Maurice||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lundon, W.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Delany, William||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Rigg, Richard|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Roche, John|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Dermott, Patrick||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Govern, T.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Edwards, Frank||Malcolm, Ian||Spencer, Rt. Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Esmonds, Sir Thomas||Mooney, John J.||Strachey, Edward|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Moss, Samuel||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Murphy, J.||Tully, Jasper|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Ure, Alexander|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Newnes, Sir George||Warner, Thomas Conrtenay T.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Green, Walford D (Wednesb'ry)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Norman, Henry||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hammond, John||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Harden, John Patrick||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Eugene Wason and Mr. Gibson-Bowles.|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Jameson, Maj. J. Eustace||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Duke, Henry Edward||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Elibank, Master of||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Faber, George Denison||Lowe, Francis William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Finch, George H.||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsm'th|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. E.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fisher, William Hayes||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Maconochie; A. W.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Forster, Henry William||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.|
|Bill, Charles||Garfit, William||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Bond, Edward||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Brassey, Albert||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfries-sh.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Goscben, Hn. George Joachim||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Bull, William James||Graham, Henry Robert||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Butcher, John George||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morgan, David J. (W'lth'mst'w|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G (Mid'x||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hamilton, Marq of (L'dond'rry)||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r.)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath|
|Charrington, Spencer||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Helder, Augustus||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Henderson, Alexander||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hermon- Hodge, Robert T.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Howard, John (Kent, F'versh'm||Percy, Earl|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Hozier, Hon. James Hy. Cecil||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'ml'ts, S Geo.||Knowles, Lees||Purvis, Robert|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Law, Andrew Bonar||Randles, John S.|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lawson, John Grant||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Welby, Lt. Col. A. C. E. (Tauntn|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Ridley, Hon. M. W (Stalybridge||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Thomas, J A (Glamorg'n, Gower||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Ropner, Colonel Robert||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter||Thornton, Percy M.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Tollemache, Henry James||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Valentia, Viscount||Younger, William|
|Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Warr, Augustus Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Spear, John Ward||Webb, Colonel William George|
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
claimed, "That the Original Question be now put."
Original Question put accordingly, "That a sum, not exceeding £22,504, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Duke, Henry Edward||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol S.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Elibank, Master of||Lowe, Francis William|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Faber, George Denison||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Fergusson Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Finch, George H.||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W G Ellison|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Fisher, William Hayes||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Forster, Henry William||M'Calmont Col, J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Garfit, William||Malcolm, Ian|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Bill, Charles||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Bond, Edward||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Brassey, Albert||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Graham, Henry Robert||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Bull, William James||Green, Walford D (Wednesbu'y||Morgan, David J. (Walthams'w|
|Butcher, John George||Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.)||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Morion, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G. (Mid'x||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'donderry||Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. Wm.||Murray, Charles, J. (Coventry)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Newdigate, Frauds Alexander|
|Chapman, Edward||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Charrington, Spencer||Heath, Jas. (Staffords., N. W.)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Helder, Augustus||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Henderson, Alexander||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Percy, Earl|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hope, J. F. (Sh'ffield, Brightside||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Howard, John (Kent, Faversh'm||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Purvis, Robert|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Randles, John S.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Knowles, Lees||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'mlets S. Geo.||Law, Andrew Bonar||Ritchie, Rt. Hon Chas. Thomson|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lawson, John Grant||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareh'm||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
§ during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1902, for certain Miscellaneous Legal Expenses, including Grants in Aid of the Expenses of the Incorporated Law Societies of England and Ireland."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 169; Noes, 85. [Division List No. 156.]
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Thornton, Percy M.||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Tollemache, Henry James||Wodehouse, Rt. Hon. E. R (Bath)|
|Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Valentia, Viscount||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.||Warr, Augustus Frederick||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Spear, John Ward||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Stewart, Sir Mark J. M 'Taggart||Webb, (Colonel William George||Younger, William|
|Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton|
|Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||White, Luke (York, E. R.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Thomas, J A (Glamorgan Gower||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Dowd, John|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Mara, James|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Partington, Oswald|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Jordan, Jeremiah||Priestley, Arthur|
|Bell, Richard||Joyce, Michael||Rea, Russell|
|Boland, John||Kennedy, Patrick James||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Labouchere, Henry||Reddy, M.|
|Boyle, James||Lambert, George||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Brigg, John||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Leamy, Edmund||Rigg, Richard|
|Caldwell, James||Levy, Maurice||Roche, John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Lundon, W.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||M'Dermott, Patrick||Strachey, Edward|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Govern, T.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Cullinan, J.||Mooney, John J.||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.|
|Delany, William||Moss, Samuel||Tully, Jasper|
|Doogan, P. C.||Murphy, J.||Ure, Alexander|
|Duffy, William J.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Edwards, Frank||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Newnes, Sir George||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norman, Henry|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary M'd||Sir Thomas Esmonde and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Hammond, John||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.1572
§ Adjourned at twenty-five minutes before One of the clock till Monday next.