HL Deb 29 April 1858 vol 149 cc1923-5

wished to ask his noble and learned Friend on the woolsack, whether he was now in a condition to inform the House as to the probability of the Divorce Act being this year extended to Ireland.


said, it was not the intention of the Government to introduce any Bill upon that subject in the present Session. If there were no other reason for coming to that determination he thought the compensation to the proctors was sufficient to deter them. It appeared that the compensation claimed by the English proctors amounted to £210,000, and if the measure were extended to Ireland, compensation to the proctors there must also be given, which, though not to the same amount, would still be a considerable sum.


was surprised to hear this declaration on the part of the noble and learned Lord, considering the great importance of the subject. Last year he called the attention of the then Lord Chancellor to the subject who assured him—


rose to order. The noble Earl was not in order. A question had been put, he had given the answer, and there was now no question before the House.


again attempted to address the House.


said he rose to order. He would move that the House do adjourn, in order to afford his noble Friend an opportunity to proceed. He had sat in that House a great number of years, and he had never heard such an objection taken before. He apprehended that his noble Friend did not mean to argue the question, but surely he had a right to express his opinion.

Moved, That the House do now adjourn.


said, if the noble and learned Lord had sat in that House for five or six months he would not have thought of rising to order on such an occasion. He did not wish to occupy their Lordships' time, but he was going on to say that when in the course of the last Session he pointed out to the noble and learned Lord who then occupied the woolsack the inconvenience of having one law for England and another for Ireland, the noble and learned Lord fully admitted the inconvenience, and promised to introduce a Bill to assimilate the law on this subject.


said, that justice had not been done to Ireland in being excluded from the Divorce Bill. Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland would be greatly aggrieved unless steps were taken to assimilate the laws between the two countries. He was astonished at the answer that was given by his noble and learned Friend. He could understand that it might not be convenient to proceed this Session; but he trusted the subject would not be lost sight of—because, what was to become of Irishmen if this law were not extended to that country? Were they still to be condemned to come to this House and have their marriages dissolved by Act of Parliament. No change was required in Scotland, because there the tribunals had the power of dissolving marriages; but in Ireland no such power existed.


said, he saw no; reason why the extension of the Divorce Act to Ireland should be mixed up with the question of compensation to the proctors, because the proctors would not be at all affected by such a measure. He could only say, and with all sincerity, that it was the intention of Her Majesty's late Government to introduce a bill for Ireland, though he guarded himself by saying that it might not he in exactly the same form. When they loft office they had not made up their mind as to the precise form in which they should introduce the Bill; and at the beginning of the present Session he was in communication with his right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland, when the alteration of the Government occurred, and nothing more took place on the subject.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.