HL Deb 24 March 1836 vol 32 cc548-9
Lord Plunket

begged to introduce a Bill for the improvement of the Court of Chancery (Ireland). By this Bill it was proposed to abolish the six clerks, and to have their duty performed by other officers at a less expense, though more conveniently to the public. The proposition for the abolition of the six clerks did not proceed from any conviction of the inefficiency of the gentlemen at present filling those situations, for he believed they had conducted themselves with perfect propriety. Instead of the registrar being appointed, as at present, by the Crown, it was proposed that the other clerks should rise to this office by seniority. It appeared that the business of other courts, the Exchequer for instance, was got through in a very satisfactory manner, without the six clerks; and he thought that they might be therefore abolished in the Court of Chancery. As there was to be an abolition of offices to which considerable emolument was attached, it would be necessary to give compensation; which, however, would not fall upon the public, though it ultimately might upon the Consolidated Fund. It was proposed, however, in the first instance, to give the compensation from what was called "The Compensation Fund;" and, that being insufficient, "The Chancery Suitors' Fund;" and it might be ultimately necessary to have recourse to the Consolidated Fund.

Lord Ellenborough

said, that the noble Lord had not opened this Bill in a very explanatory manner, and that the aspect of the measure was not a very economical one. Officers were placed by it on the Compensation List, whose services were to be transferred to others, and paid for accordingly in addition. In real reforms, the only officers who should be put away were those whose services could be dispensed with. He thought the course the noble Lord proposed to pursue was dangerous to the interests of the parties he interfered with, and that similar dangers existed with regard to the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill. If the compensation clauses were struck out in the Commons great injustice would be done, for which no remedy could be had in their Lordships' House, unless some actual alteration was made in the other House, which would enable their Lordships to exercise their judgement again on the Bill.

Lord Plunket

explained, and pointed out that the routine of promotion which had been provided would be available to the six clerks, who would be first appointed registrars, and would thereby sensibly lighten the burthen of compensation on the two funds alluded to.

Bill read a first time.