HC Deb 11 August 1913 vol 56 cc2187-96

Resolution reported,

"That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of the Consolidated Fund, of the Salary and Pension of any additional Lord of Appeal in Ordinary appointed under any Act of the present Session to make further provision with respect to the number and duties of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, provided that the sum paid in salaries in any one year to the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary appointed under this Act shall in no case exceed twelve thousand pounds."


I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Pancras—to leave out the word "twelve" ["shall in no case exceed twelve thousand pounds"], and to insert instead thereof the word "five."

The House has already agreed that in a Bill of this kind it is right and proper that there should be a limit set to the amount of money to be provided. It seems to me that if there is to be any value in that maximum limit it should be fixed as clearly as possible. As regards this question of inserting five thousand pounds, instead of twelve thousand pounds, we know that there is a Royal Commission sitting, and we have every reason to hope that in the Report of that Royal Commission there will be some recommendation that judges should be retired at a specified age. I have an Amendment on the Paper lower down proposing that these two new Law Lords, proposed to be set up under this Bill, should be confined to judges who had served their time and qualified for a pension, and if, as many of us hope, we are going to have that limit of age, then you would be able to find amongst these judges to fill these posts, to use the words of the Memorandum, that appears upon the face of this Bill, "English judges of the finest quality." You are going to have a supply of these judges ready at hand, and already in possession of pensions of £3,500 a year each. Therefore, if you confine these appointments to these ex-judges, you would only require in each case an additional £2,500 a year to bring the salaries of each of the Law Lords up to £6,000 a year. Here we are creating two of the most expensive offices known to our Constitution, and everybody in favour of economy must be agreed that if we can do it without detriment to that great office of Law Lordship, we should do it as cheaply as possible, and that can be done by retiring two nisi prius judges at an early age. These judges deal with trials and hear witnesses, and their work is very different from that of the Lords-in-Ordinary, who have only to sit two or three days a week and a couple of hours each day. These judges would be specially qualified as English judges of the highest quality to take these appointments. Therefore, I have great confidence in moving this Amendment, and recommending it to the consideration of the House.


I beg to second the Amendment, and I am only sorry that the hon. Member for St. Pancras is not here to move it himself. The Amendment is that £5,000 should be substituted for £12,000 in the huge sum which is to be paid to the judges under this Bill. The idea at the back of that limitation is that it is considered by us that one new judge would be quite sufficient to satisfy the claims of the Dominions for extra judges. All that the Dominions seek is that a larger quorum of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council should sit on Dominion cases and the quorum present is at least three. The objection the Dominions have to such a quorum is that occasionally in their own Courts more than three judges—

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)

The hon. Member will recollect that Mr. Speaker's ruling, given in very definite terms, was that a Resolution is not the occasion to debate the Bill. The hon. Member is referring to Amendments to the Bill itself. Those Amendments should not be discussed on the Resolution, and we should wait until we get into Committee on the Bill.


Then I will confine myself to the limitation of £5,000, instead of £12,000. The sum of £5,000 was the salary originally intended for two judges. I do not know whether hon. Members are aware of the fact that this is the third Session in which an Appellate Jurisdiction Bill has been brought before the House, and on the two former occasions it was practically defeated. At first the salaries were put at £5,000, but not withstanding the fact that the two previous Bills were thrown out, the Government now come forward with a third Bill, and they raise the salary from £5,000 to £6,000. My argument is that the view originally held by the Government that £5,000 was quite sufficient should prevail. I am surprised that after this Bill has been practically rejected twice by the House that the Government have the courage to bring forward this measure a third time, and not only to do this, but they are now proposing to increase the salaries of the judges. When this Bill was formerly before the House, we had the assistance of the Labour party in opposing the appointment of these judges, but now for some unknown reason the Labour party are not assisting us on this occasion. The reduction I suggest is that one judge is sufficient to give the quorum desired by the Dominions, and I think the salary of that judge should be £5,000, an amount which the Government thought was sufficient on two former occasions.


I will endeavour to obey your ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, in answering the arguments put forward by my hon. Friend. The object of this Amendment is not quite easy to discern, because the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved it said he did so for the purpose of enabling him to pass a Resolution to give effect to an Amendment which he had on the Paper that judges who had retired would be able to serve if they received £2,500, which, with their pension, would give them a salary of £6,000. I understand that the hon. and learned Gentleman who seconded the Amendment desires to reduce it to one Law Lord and to pay him a salary of £5,000. I have already explained to the House, both on the Second Reading of the Bill and also when in Committee on this Resolution that the object of this Bill is to give the same salary to the two new Law Lords as the four Law Lords have had ever since 1876. It does not raise anybody's salary, and it does not add anything to the salary; it does not raise the pension or add anything to the pension. It puts the two new Law Lords on exactly the same basis as the four Law Lords have been ever since the year 1876. I hope that will commend itself to the House, and that they will see that is the only way in which this Bill can be properly carried out. It is a little difficult to understand how you can have two Law Lords standing at a lower salary than four others with whom they form the same tribunal? The hon. and learned Gentleman who moved seems to think that. it would be sufficient that you should have sitting in the Supreme Tribunal for the United Kingdom and also for the Dominions, the highest Court in the British Empire, men who have retired on account of ill-health, or old age, or because of some infirmity and because they have already served as many years as they consider they can usefully serve. I really do think that is an impossible proposition. I doubt very much whether the hon. Gentleman had in mind the fact that these judges would have to sit in the House of Lords. They would, when they retired, actually sit in the Supreme Tribunal where, during their active period, they had only sat as judges of the first instance. It is obvious that would be quite an impossible state of things. We have already, by the Resolution which is before the House, limited the salaries to a sum not exceeding £12,000 for the two judges, which makes it impossible to pay any higher salary than has been paid ever since 1876 without any question. I was rather surprised to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman, who is a Member of the Royal Commission, stating what he thought was going to be the views of the Commission which has not yet reported, and which, so far as I know, has not yet sat and deliberated.


I did not say what I thought would be the Report, but what many of us hoped would be the Report.


The hon. and learned Member is a member of the Commission, and that is what drew from me the observation. I should not have thought anything of it if it had been said by any other hon. Member. It is a little, unusual that a member of a Royal Commission should express his views in that way. This Amendment stands in the name of the hon. and learned Member for. East St. Pancras (Mr. Martin), and it is most regrettable that he is not here and that advantage should have been taken of the Amendment standing in his name, to, move it when it must be known that so far as he was concerned he was perfectly satisfied. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I alit speaking of the result of a conversation which took place with the Lord Chancellor, and in reference to a document which I hold in my hand.


He told me he was not at all satisfied, but that was all he could get.


I understand that he was not satisfied, but that he got the best he could, and then went away to Canada, having made it impossible for him to move any of his Amendments after the discussion that had taken place. I, therefore, think it a little strange that we should have an Amendment moved in his name. The hon. and learned Member seemed to think that he was moving it for the hon. and learned Member for St, Pancras.


I hope we shall hear nothing more about the views of the hon. Member for East, St. Pancras (Mr. Martin). The House of Commons is quite capable of dealing with this question, and when the Attorney-General puts forward his own view it does not gain added weight from the views of an absent Member. The right hon. and learned Gentleman argued that it was impossible that in a body like the one being set up, some men should be paid higher salary than others. He suggested it was incongruous and unworkable. But he is a Member of a Government which has done that very thing, because in the Mental Deficiency Bill there are Commissioners in receipt of a salary of £1,500 a year, and the Home Secretary has promised that new ones shall be appointed at £1,200 a year. As one who likes to support the Government on every possible occasion, I must point out the quandary they get into through one Department not knowing what is done by another.


I should like to point out that all the present Law Lords have not the same salary. The Lord Chancellor has a considerably higher salary than the other Law Lords.


Not as a Law Lord.


The Attorney-General was very much at sea when he argued that all judges must stand on an equality as regards salary. I raise my voice against this on the ground of economy, and I particularly want to hear the views of the Opposition on this, because when there is a very small economy proposed plenty of them are ready to vote for it, but when it is an economy involving thousands of pounds they are dumb dogs, all of them. We know the reason in this case. One of these appointments is to go to one of their friends. Let some responsible Member of the Opposition give voice to their views on tins occasion.


I object to this on the same grounds as the last speaker. It is high time we studied economy. I do not believe these judges are wanted at all, but no doubt they have already been selected. It is so easy when we are spending other people's money. I was sorry to hear the Attorney-General make the remarks he did about the hon. Member for East St. Pancras. No one can object to an hon.

Member who has been so regular in his attendance going away a little early on his holidays. Then as to the remarks made about the Royal Commission. I submit that the Government have no business to be going on with this Bill at all pending. the Report of the Royal Commission, seeing that when the appointment has been made we may find the Royal Commission reporting in favour of something very different. Expenditure should not be rushed in this way at the moment a Royal Commission is considering the self-same matter. It is late in the day of the Session to ask this. House to be economical, but I do think that this year there has been more reckless squandering of public money than there has ever been before. I hope the House will say that £5,000 is, if anything, more than ought to be paid for these new posts.


It is not quite fair to assume that those who oppose this Grant are animated by any sort of indifference to the interests of the Colonies. I certainly am not conscious of being more indifferent to the interests of the Empire than those who support this Grant. What I feel is that we have been asked to make a large addition to the judges this year, and I do not think the present condition of the bench has been sufficiently surveyed before those additions were made. I should like to have seen a Report of the Royal Commission. I believe that there are probably some judges on the bench—there certainly were in my own country until not long ago, when certain changes were made—who would be better retired, and that if the full bench of judges was in active operation it is probable that these new appointments would be unnecessary. It is on these grounds, and not because of any indifference to the needs of the Colonies being met in the High Court here, that I associate myself with those who advocate the reduction of the Grant.

Question put, "That the word 'twelve' stand part of the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 36.

Division No. 273.] AYES. [10.45 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Beck, Arthur Cecil
Acland, Francis Dyke Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Bird Alfred
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Banbury. Sir Frederick Beland, John Pius
Anson. Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Barlow, Sir John Emmett (Somerset) Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Boyton, J.
Baird, John Lawrence Barnston, Harry Brady, Patrick Joseph
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Beauchamp, Sir Edward Bryce, J. Annan
Burke, E. Haviland- Hibbert, Sir Henry F. Parker. James (Halifax)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Higham, John Sharp Parry, Thomas H.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Hills, John Waller Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Cassel, Felix Holmes, Daniel Turner Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Hughes, Spencer Leigh Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Illingworth. Percy H. Pollock, Ernest Murray
Chancellor, Henry George Ingleby, Holcombe Pretyman, Ernest George
Clancy, John Joseph Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Clive, Captain Percy Archer John, Edward Thomas Pryce-Jones, Colonel Edward
Clough, William Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Raffan, Peter Wilson
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Condon, Thomas Joseph Joyce, Michael Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Cotton, William Francis Keating, Matthew Reddy, Michael
Cowan, W. H. Kellaway, Frederick George Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Craik, Sir Henry Kelly, Edward Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Crumley, Patrick Kerry, Earl of Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Cullinan, John Kilbride, Denis Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon. S. Molton) Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Lardner, James C. R. Robinson, Sidney
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Larmor, Sir J. Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Delany, William Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Roe, Sir Thomas
Devlin, Joseph Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Ronaldshay, Earl of
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Lewisham, Viscount Royds, Edmund
Dillon, John Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Doris, William Lundon, Thomas Salter, Arthur Clavell
Duffy, William J. Lyell, Charles Henry Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Duke, Henry Edward Lynch, Arthur Alfred Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Sanders, Robert Arthur
Duncannon, Viscount McGhee. Richard Scanlan, Thomas
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Fell, Arthur Macpherson, James Ian Sheehy, David
Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson MacVeagh, Jeremiah Shortt, Edward
Ffrench, Peter McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Simon, Rt. Hon, Sir John Allsebrook
Field, William Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Meagher, Michael Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Stewart, Gershom
Fletcher. John Samuel Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Molloy. Michael Talbot, Lord Edmund
Gibbs, George Abraham Morgan, George Hay Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Gill, A. H. Morrell, Philip Tennant, Harold John
Gladstone, W. G. C. Morison-Bell, Capt., E. F. (Ashburton) Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Grant, J. A. Morison, Hector Thorne. G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Greig, Colonel James William Mount, William Arthur Toulmin, Sir George
Griffith, Ellis Jones Muldoon, John Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Munro, Robert Waring, Walter
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Webb, H.
Guinness. Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.) Neilson. Francis Wheler, Granville C. H.
Gulland, John William Nolan, Joseph White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) O'Brien. Patrick (Kilkenny) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Hackett. John O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Mite, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Hall, Frederick (Dulwich) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) l White, Patrick (Meath. North)
Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham) O'Doherty. Philip Wilson. Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rnssendale) O'Donnell. Thomas Wolmer, Viscount
Harcourt. Robert V. (Montrose) O'Dowd, John I Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Harrison-Broadley, H. B. O'Malley. William Younger, Sir George
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Yoxall, Sir James' Henry
Hayden, John Patrick O'Shaughnessy. P. J.
Hayward, Evan O'Shee, James John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. W. Bens and Mr. W. Jones.
Hazleton, Richard O'Sullivan, Timothy
Henry, Sir Charles Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Adamson, William Hodge. John Pringle, William M. R.
Booth, Frederick Handel Rogge, James Myles Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Bowerman, Charles W. Hudson, Walter Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Bridgeman, William Clive Jowett, Frederick William Snowden, Philip
Byles, Sir William Pollard King, Joseph Thomas, J. H.
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Wardle, George J.
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Gilmour, Captain John Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Goldstone, Frank Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Gretton, John Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.
Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Outhwaite, R. L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Herbert Craig and Mr. Watt.
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Questions, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.