HL Deb 09 April 1867 vol 186 c1328

, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, that its object was to improve the jurisdiction of the Vice Admiralty Courts. In the year 1863 an Act was passed which defined the jurisdiction of those Courts in the colonies, and had been found to give the greatest possible satisfaction. Suggestions for its improvement, however, had been made from various colonies, and this Bill proposed to adopt those suggestions. By the Bill of 1863 the Chief Justice of a colony was ex officio Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court. That was an excellent provision; but in colonies like New Zealand, where there was an extensive seaboard, and a great number of maritime towns at a considerable distance from each other, it frequently happened that the Chief Justice, who was the only Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court, was engaged on circuit or in one of the maritime towns when there might be a cause awaiting him in another. Now, this Bill would enable the Chief Justice to appoint a deputy, with the approval of the Governor of the colony. Another provision of the Bill was to remove doubts as to the persons who might practise in those Courts. There was also a provision of some importance which removed certain difficulties that had arisen in respect of certain of these Courts, Courts which had been established by letters patent in colonies possessing an independent Legislature.

Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committe of the Whole House on Thursday next.