§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether the Commission sitting in Edinburgh under the Private Bill Procedure Act will hold any portion of their sittings in Aberdeen; and, if not, whether any local inquiry will be held by them there.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. A. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
No, Sir, I understand the two Orders relating to Buckie and Aberdeen were first on the list for inquiry; the Buckie inquiry is now over, and the Aberdeen inquiry is proceeding at Edinburgh.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
May I ask whether an application has been made to have the inquiry at Aberdeen, and whether a large number of witnesses has been sent to Edinburgh at great expense and inconvenience.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
I beg to give notice that in consequence of the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, I will take the first opportunity of calling attention to the matter, and protesting against the action taken.
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
May I ask whether the sole object of the Act was not to secure that these inquiries should be held locally?
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether there is anything in the rules made under the Private Bill Procedure (Scotland) Act to prevent Commissioners appointed under that Act for the purpose of inquiring into a number of private Bills from holding their sittings, for the purposes of one or more Bills, in one place, and, for the purposes of another Bill or other Bills, in another place, with a view to the convenience of promoters, opponents and witnesses; and whether, if this be the case, he will represent to the Commissioners recently appointed to inquire into the Aberdeen Tramways Bill and the Buckie Harbour Bill the desirability of their transferring their sittings to Aberdeen as soon as they begin their inquiry into those Bills.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
There is nothing in the rules or in the Act to prevent Commissioners from holding their inquiry in different places, as suggested by the right hon. Member. In fact, this course was adopted in one of last year's inquiries, which was held partly in Glasgow, to settle a Glasgow scheme, and partly at Ayr, to settle schemes in Ayr, Ardrossan, and Irvine; and another inquiry (which ultimately proved unnecessary) was appointed to be held partly in Edinburgh and partly in Greenock. Last year's experience was not considered entirely favourable to the alteration of a place of inquiry or to the holding of an inquiry away from convenient and central localities. As regards the Buckie and Aberdeen Orders, I understand that inquiry into the former has now closed, and that into the latter is now proceeding at Edinburgh.
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
May I ask whether the Act does not give full powers to the Commissioners to appoint the place of meeting, and not to the Scottish Office?
§ [No answer was given.]