§ LORD ST. LEONARDS
presented a petition from James Lord, Esquire, complaining of the expense of proceedings in the Court of Chancery. The petitioner stated that a suit, connected with an estate in 1607 which he was interested, had been pending in the Court of Chancery since 1833, and had not yet been decided. The noble Lord expressed a hope that the Lord Chancellor would cause some inquiry to be made into the allegations of the petition.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, this was the first time he had heard of the case to which the petition referred. He might observe, however, that the Court of Chancery was often subjected to blame when the fault rested with the suitors themselves, who did not choose to stir, and to whom the Court was consequently unable to afford any remedy. He did not believe the general business of the Court of Chancery had ever been in a more satisfactory state than at the present time; and he said this with the more confidence, because he took very little of the merit to himself, the business being disposed of by the Vice Chancellor and the Master of the Rolls. When he was a practitioner in the court, there used to be, for years, hundreds of cases in arrear; but that was not so now. [Lord ST. LEONARDS: You have a greater number of Judges.] No doubt, if there were not so many Judges, the business would not be in so forward a state; but the appeals he had heard during the present year had generally been appeals against decrees which had only been made six weeks or two months previously. He believed that, although there was no deficiency in the number of Judges, there was a deficiency in the official staff of those Judges, and he thought it would be absolutely necessary to provide for the increase of that staff. He would take care that the statements of the petition presented by his noble and learned Friend were inquired into.
§ LORD ST. LEONARDS
thought great caution would be necessary in increasing the staff of officers, because, if they overloaded the staff in chambers, they would, he feared, to some extent add to the evils which at present existed.