HL Deb 24 February 1868 vol 190 cc1038-9

said, the Act which the Legislature passed last year, to enable the Lords Justices to sit separately to hear appeals against decisions of the Master of the Rolls and the Vice Chancellors in certain cases, had led to some difficulty. By the Act constituting the Court of Appeal, the Court was formed of the Lord Chancellor and the two Judges of Appeal. The Court has the jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor, and an appeal lies to the House of Lords. The Lord Chancellor and the two Judges may, of course, sit together, or the Lord Chancellor may sit with one Judge, or the two Judges may sit without the Chancellor. The jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor is reserved, so that he may hear appeals alone. The pressure of business was such that last year a Bill was passed in effect authorizing either of the two Judges to exercise the jurisdiction under the original Act, provided that no decree made on the hearing of a cause, or on further directions, shall be re-heard before the said Judges when sitting alone. The object of the proviso was to prevent a single Judge of Appeal from hearing an appeal from another single Judge of a Court below where the cause had been regularly heard. It did not occur to the framers of this Bill that between the two Acts before referred to another Act had been passed, which enabled suitors, instead of resorting to the old practice of what is termed bringing a cause to a regular hearing, to move for a decree or decretal order, and thus save both time and money; and, where the motion is granted, the cause is as regularly heard as if the old practice had been resorted to. An appeal was soon brought to a hearing from a decree upon motion, and it was the opinion of the Judges that it could be heard by a single Judge of Appeal sitting alone. This was manifestly contrary to the principle of the new Act, and to give effect to the intention of the Legislature he had prepared a short Bill extending the proviso to decrees and decretal orders upon motion in like manner, as if they had been made on the hearing of a cause or on further directions.


said, the practice arose from the words of the Act. It was quite true that the Lords Justices and himself, when a question arose on the matter, came to the conclusion that the Lords Justices might hear separately appeals against decisions made on motions for decree; but he had some doubt on the construction of the Act. It was very desirable to have those doubts removed, which would be done by the Bill of his noble and learned Friend, which, besides, had the great merit of being extremely short.

A Bill to amend an Act to make further Provision for the Despatch of Business in the Court of Appeal in Chancery—Was presented by The Lord ST. LEONARDS; read 1a. (No. 20.)