HC Deb 28 June 1906 vol 159 cc1150-1
MR. DUFFY (Galway, S.)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland whether his attention has been called to the practice at present prevailing of magistrates adjudicating in cases in which they have a personal interest, and also in sanctioning as advocates their friends and relations to appear before them; and, in view of the tendency to corruption under these circumstances, will he deal with the matter by legislation or otherwise.


I am not aware of the practice prevailing in Ireland of magistrates adjudicating in cases in which they have a personal interest. It is quite contrary to law that they should do so; and if the hon. Member is aware of any particular case in which a magistrate has so acted, he ought to bring the matter under the notice of the Lord Chancellor. As regards the second part of the Question, magistrates have no power to refuse to hear advocates, whether solicitors or barristers, who appear before them on the ground merely that they are either friends or relations of their own, and I fear it would be a very dangerous power to put into their hands. If in any case a magistrate uses undue means to procure the employment of a relative in a case pending before him, or shows partiality towards the litigant who so employs a friend or relation, the conduct of such magistrate should be brought to the attention of the Lord Chancellor, who will, I feel sure, if the charge is clearly established, deal with it with the utmost severity.