HL Deb 16 June 1865 vol 180 cc357-9

Commons Amendment to Lords Amendment considered.


said, that on the third reading of this Bill, his noble Friend (Lord Redesdale) moved an Amendment, which their Lordships passed, to the effect that no steps should be taken to secure property, and that no contract should be entered into for the erection of the proposed Palace of Justice, until the plans and estimates had been submitted to and sanctioned by Parliament. The Commons had consented to an alteration in the provisions of the Bill in that respect so far as that proceeding should be stayed until a certificate had been received by the Treasury signed by all the Commissioners, which he thought would meet the views of the noble Lord on their Lordships' Amendment. He moved, therefore, that the Commons' Amendment be agree to.


said, that what the Commons had consented to was a complete admission that the matter required serious investigation, and he had full confidence that the Commission would do its duty in that respect. He had had since the Bill was before their Lordships some communication with the Incorporated Law Society, and he was sorry to find, from their views on the subject, that the country would probably be subjected to a very much larger expense than the sum which had been named, if it were desired to have anything which would be worthy of the name of "a Palace of Justice." They told him that the estimates were made for the plainest possible building, that it would be impossible to take the suitors' money for ornament, and that if the country I wanted that sort of thing the money for it must be sought elsewhere; and that, as to the approaches, they had nothing to do with them, as the Metropolitan Board of Works would see to them. He (Lord Redesdale) was convinced that the estimates were insufficient, and he thought it right that the public should know what it had to expect. There was, however, one thing to be said—a good Baker Street elevation would be quite sufficient for Bell Yard and Carey Street; and as to the Strand, the best thing to do there would be to erect a row of shops, and put the building behind it in order to secure somewhat more quietude for the business of the Courts.


was very sorry that the diffidence of the noble Baron, prevented his retaining his Amendment, for a more extravagant, speculative, and absurd plan had never been heard of; and as for its architectual pretentions, it was impossible to make it anything better than a bad imitation of the Four Courts at Dublin. The Bill was chiefly intended to enable barristers to hold briefs in all the courts at once, and in Westminster the present buildings, with a few additions, were good enough, if short causes only were tried in term, and long causes after term. He (Lord Denman) had for eighteen years attended in the courts, and had done his best for the welfare of suitors, solicitors, and all engaged in the administration of justice, and had been badly paid for it, but he staked his reputation on the fact that these courts were unnecessary. The approach to the Carey Street site would be wretched for those who wished differtum transire forum populumq, whilst the withdrawing the sittings from Guildhall would be most inconvenient to suitors, to jurors, to witnesses, and would prevent merchants from easily sending for documents to their counting houses, and from being permitted to receive and answer any important note as to business in the jury box, which was often done by the permission of the Judge. He wished their Lordships would at once reject these Bills, and then New Boswell Court could be occupied, and lodgers return to those houses which were now deserted. He regretted being opposed to both sides of the House, and giving offence by his opinion on this subject, but he was sure their Lordships would one day regret having ever authorized the dust of demolition, and if these were the last words he had to speak he should utter them in deprecation of this Bill.

Motion agreed to.