HL Deb 29 March 1844 vol 73 cc1597-8
The Lord Chancellor

moved the re-appointment of the Select Committee of last Session to inquire upon the state of the Law of Marriages in Ireland, with a view of considering whether any and what alterations were required in them.

Lord Campbell

entirely concurred with the noble and learned Lord that, as legislation upon the subject had now become indispensable, the re-appointment of the Committee would be a very proper course to take. In the case of the Queen and Millis, the numbers being equal for and against the appeal, the forms of their Lordships' House construed that equality into a vote in the negative, and thus the judgment of the Court below had been affirmed. But it should not be forgotten that if the case had come before their Lordships in a different form, namely, in a form affirmative of that view of the law, the effect of the equality of voices would have been to negative that proposition—in other words, to give a directly Contrary decision upon the subject to that which in accordance with the forms of the House had been given to it. He must say that he should have been better pleased if the decision of their Lordships had been on the other side of the question, and that they had confirmed the first marriage.

Lord Cottenham

said, that he could not quite concur in the view of the case which the noble and learned Lord who had just sat down appeared to take. The vote which had been come to was to all intents and purposes the judgment of their Lordships, and declared what the law was. He quite concurred in the propriety of reappointing the Committee on the subject.

The Lord Chancellor

said, it could not be denied that their Lordships having heard the case fully argued at their Bar, and having been equally divided in their votes upon it, the result necessarily had been that the judgment of the Court below had been affirmed. It was material, however, to bear in mind, that the decision to which their Lordships had come was in accordance with a very high authority in this House, and confirmatory of the judgment of the majority of the Bench in Ireland.

Lord Brougham

said, he hoped that the Committee would be reappointed without delay.

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