HL Deb 10 May 1852 vol 121 cc418-9

Order of the Day for Second Reading read.


(who was greatly indisposed), said, that as he had or a former occasion described the nature of the measure, he should not say anything upon the subject now. He should simply move that it be read a second time, with a view to its being referred to a Select Committee.


said, he considered this a most useful and valuable measure, though he thought it admitted of some question whether it adopted the best pessible means for attaining its object. It certainly carried into effect the recommendations of the Chancery Commission; of which none were more important than those which related to the virtual abolition of the Master's Office. He said "virtual," for the duties of the office were in some degree still to be retained, though in different hands. He owned, however, that he did not think the mode proposed was the very best that could have been suggested. It had occurred to him that the duties to be discharged required presence in Court and hearing of the matters there discussed; and for that reason he suggested that the Registrar would be the fittest person to discharge them, as he sat in Court all day, as the Masters used to do of old; although, even at the time when his noble and learned Friend was at the bar, the practice had become a mere form. The Masters of the Common Law Courts still performed the duties of Master and Registrar, and sat in Court all day in one capacity, which qualified them all the better for the exercise of the other. He would observe, also, that the duties of the Master were now to be performed by a Judge's Clerk, and he feared suitors would scarcely have confidence in so inferior a functionary —at least with a name and office so inferior; for in matters like this there was a great deal, after all, in a "name."


said, that he had never heard of such a suggestion before, and certainly it could not possibly answer, as the Registrar had quite enough to do in the performance of the peculiar functions of his office. And, as to the ancient attendance of the Masters, it had been found incompatible with the due discharge of the proper duties of the Master's Office; and for that very reason their attendance had first become formal and then fallen entirely into disuse. The experiment, therefore, had been in fact tried, and had totally failed. He would add, moreover, that the Bill had been drawn up in strict conformity to the recommendations of the Commissioners.


said, the Bill, in this respect, kept close to the recommendations of the Report, and he thought it far better to adhere to those recommendations, in order to facilitate the passing of the Bill through the other House of Parliament.


quite agreed in this; and as to his noble and learned Friend's (Lord Cranworth's) objection to the title of "Judge's Clerk," begged to remind him that the Chief Judge in Scotland was called a clerk—the"Lord Justice Clerk."

On Question, Resolved in the Affirmative; Bill read 2ª, and referred to a Select Committee.

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