§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
said, that their Lordships could estimate the importance of the County Courts by the fact that the amount involved in the suits brought last year was not less than £700,000. A proof of the preference given to these courts over the Superior Courts of Westminster was, that there were 10,000 suits brought in the County Courts for sums in which the Superior Courts held a concurrent jurisdiction, while only 2,000 of these suits were brought in the Courts of Westminster. He had always advocated an equalization of the salaries of the County Court Judges, but he regretted that the House of Commons had shown a disposition to carry this equalization into effect by cutting down the salaries to a minimum, instead of adopting the maximum, as he had recommended.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that the Bill before their Lordships, which he 993 had proposed with the view of equalizing the duties of the County Court Judges, would go a considerable way towards accomplishing the object of his noble and learned Friend. It appeared that in consequence of the unequal distribution of business amongst the County Courts several of the Judges were greatly overtasked, and he believed there was no doubt that their labours were too great for them. But his noble and learned Friend would remember that there were others of the Judges whose labours were exceedingly light, and that it would be ridiculous, therefore, to think of advancing their salaries to the extent his noble and learned Friend suggested. It was only yesterday when he (the Lord Chancellor) proposed to insert a clause in the Bill for preventing references being sent to County Court Judges, in consequence of their heavy labours, that his noble and learned Friend (Lord Wensleydale) showed him a list, by which it appeared that there were some of the County Court Judges who did not sit more than forty-five days in the year. [Lord BROUGHAM: Very few of them.] He could not say whether this account of their labours was a correct one or not; but certainly their duties were extremely unequal, and he thought in the present state of things it would be most unreasonable indeed to equalize their salaries. What might be the effect of the Bill which their Lordships were now considering—whether it would have the effect of so far equalizing the labours of the County Court Judges, and distributing the business amongst them as to find them all sufficient employment throughout the year, and make it reasonable that their salaries should be raised, was a matter to be hereafter considered when they saw what was the operation of the Bill.
§ Bill to be read 3a on Thursday next.