HC Deb 28 June 1911 vol 27 cc428-9

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the facilities heretofore afforded for the trial at the Ulster winter assize of cases in. the superior courts, for the counties of Antrim and Derry and the city of Belfast, have been withdrawn by the omission of civil business from the Order in Council constituting the Ulster winter assize 1910, to the inconvenience of litigants; whether the Government will take steps to have this remedied in accordance with the representations made to the Lord Lieutenant by the Belfast Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the mercantile community; and whether the Government will procure such amendment of the Law as will enable civil bill appeals now held in abeyance, to the detriment of the public and especially of traders, for a period of eight months, to be determined at such assize as well as the spring and summer assize?


I am aware that the Ulster Winter Assize Order, 1910, did not contain provision for the transaction of civil business. The previous arrangement was in operation for about seven years, and on experience it-was found that the civil records, the only cases triable at winter assizes, were few and usually of an inconsiderable character. On the other hand the absence of the judges engaged, particularly since the reduction of the general number of judges, caused great inconvenience and delay in the legal business in Dublin, coming as it did from all quarters of the country, and in the circumstances it was determined that the balance of public convenience and economy called for the change made last year. The delay in hearing civil bill appeals is not confined to Belfast, but applies throughout the whole country. The Hon. Gentleman's suggestion will receive attention, but the present demands on the time of the judiciary appear to raise a difficulty.