§ MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the total value of the patronage connected with appointments to posts in the High Court of Justice in Ireland above the rank of junior clerk in the hands of the Lord Chancellor and of the Lord Chief Justice, respectively; how many of the posts above the rank of first class clerk are now held by officers who received their first appointment to the courts as the result of a Civil Service examination and by officers first appointed to the courts on the nomination of one or other of the Judges; how many of the persons appointed to these superior posts during the past ten years were in the Civil Service at the date of their appointment; and if he is prepared to introduce a Bill providing that, where possible, appoint- 1286 ments to the superior posts shall be made from amongst the officers serving on the permanent staff.
§ (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) I have referred this Question to the Lord Chancellor, who informs me that it would not be possible to give, within the limits of an Answer, the particulars asked for, and that no public advantage would be gained by furnishing a Return containing such particulars. Those promotions, which are not governed by statute, are made as the result of merit. As a rule the heads of offices in the High Court are required by statute or long usage to have a professional qualification.