HC Deb 09 December 1912 vol 45 cc33-4
46. Mr. CASSEL

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the fact that Clause 28 of the Government of Ireland Bill, which substitutes the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for the House of Lords as the ultimate court of appeal from courts in Ireland, was passed without any opportunity for discussion; and whether, as the result of this Clause, there will be two ultimate courts of appeal within the United Kingdom itself, the decisions of neither of which will be binding on the other, and which may both have to decide the same questions, and the question whether the ultimate court in any particular case is the House of Lords or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council may depend on purely accidental and fortuitous circumstances?


Appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council formed the subject of various debates, during which this point as to the two ultimate Courts of Appeal within the United Kingdom was made. I hope there may an opportunity, if it is desired, to raise the question again on Report. Although the decisions of neither of the two courts will be technically binding upon the other, that is equally true at the present day in reference to appeals from the Oversea Dominions and the United Kingdom which might, and sometimes do, raise the same point. In practice there is little or no difficulty since the Lords of Appeal fit in the Judicial Committee as well as in the House of Lords, and on an appeal from Ireland Clause 28 (2) of the Bill provides that not less than four Lords of Appeal shall be present.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the particular point as to an appeal in all ordinary cases apart from constitutional cases has never been discussed at all, and does he not think the creating of so anomalous a position, as having two ultimate Courts of Appeal in the United Kingdom, is deserving of discussion?


We have already had a discussion as regards appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and I have said, if an opportunity for further discussion is desired, I hope it will be found on the Report stage.

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