HC Deb 22 March 1907 vol 171 c1282

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, having regard to the fact that members of the English Judiciary who have been sworn of the English Privy Council rarely, if ever, attend the meetings of that body, and never allow attendance at those meetings to interfere with or delay the the discharge of their judicial duties, whereas the meetings of the Irish Privy Council are constantly attended by members of the Irish Judiciary, any steps will be taken to assimilate the practice in England and Ireland in this respect, and to secure, as far as possible, the severance of judicial from executive functions.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The ordinary meetings of the Privy Council in Ireland are held at such times as to enable Judges to attend, if they desire to do so, without interference with the discharge of their judicial duties. When the Committee of the Council is engaged in hearing appeals under statute, and important questions of law have to be decided, the attendance of Judges is necessary, but on such occasions arrangements are made by which the attendance of a sufficient number of Judges is secured without inconvenience or delay to suitors in the law courts. The executive functions of the Council, as distinct from the judicial, are purely formal.