HL Deb 04 February 1856 vol 140 cc147-8

presented a petition from the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of the borough of Sheffield in council assembled, complaining of what were improperly called fees, but which he preferred designating taxes, imposed upon the suitors in the County Courts, and which the petitioners alleged greatly interfered with the administration of justice in these courts; and they prayed the aid of their Lordships for the revision and reduction of these taxes in order that justice might be fairly, equally, and cheaply administered. He should at an early day present to their Lordships a Bill for the purpose of effecting what he believed would be great improvements in the practice of these courts. There attached to the County Courts both a general and a special jurisdiction. In the case of the general jurisdiction there was a right of appeal and thus uniformity of practice was secured; but with regard to the special jurisdiction, which had reference to cases of insolvency, there was no right of appeal. It was necessary—absolutely necessary—to keep the law the same in all the sixty courts, that there should be a right of appeal; but in insolvency there was no appeal whatever; and the consequence was that in that difficult and important branch of their jurisdiction different principles wore pursued in all these different courts. It was absolutely necessary, in order to maintain a uniformity in the administration of the law in these courts, that a right of appeal should be given in the case of insolvency, as well as in matters coming under the general jurisdiction of the courts.


said, that the importance of the subject to which the noble and learned Lord had referred had already received, and would continue to receive, the attention of Her Majesty's Government. A Bill had already been prepared which would, to a considerable extent, effect the object aimed at by the noble and learned Lord in respect to a re- duction of fees now received by the County Courts; but he could not at this moment bring his memory to bear as to whether the Bill would give a right of appeal in these cases of insolvency which were disposed of by the County Courts; but he begged to assure his noble and learned Friend that he would bear the matter in mind.


said, that without such right of appeal being given the Bill would be of very little use.