§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, explained that the object of the measure was to transfer to County Courts, nominated and appointed by Her Majesty in Council, the power and jurisdiction given to two Justices and a County Court Judge by certain sections of the Merchant Shipping Act 1854, and the Merchant Shipping Act Amendment Act 1862. The operation of the Bill would be to enable small suitors in Admiralty cases to make their claims before County Courts. To enable the Judge to perform his functions satisfactorily, he was to be aided by assessors, who were to be approved by the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty. An appeal lay from the County Court to the High Court of Admiralty.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a—(Earl Granville.)
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that in the course of last Session a Bill was introduced by the Government into the other House of Parliament for the purpose of giving County Courts jurisdiction in Admiralty cases; but the measure was obliged to be placed in abeyance in consequence of the exciting subjects which arose at that 1554 time, and which fully occupied the attention of Parliament. After the close of the Session, a Commission was appointed for the purpose of considering this among other important subjects connected with the law, and he should have been more satisfied had the present Bill not been introduced until after the Report of that Commission had been made, As, however, there was evidently a strong feeling throughout the country in favour of some Admiralty jurisdiction being conferred upon the County Courts, and as the House of Commons had passed the present measure, he should not wish to oppose the second reading of the Bill. While assenting to the second reading of the Bill, however, he should reserve to himself the right of proposing several Amendments upon it in Committee.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
also thought that it would have been desirable to have deferred legislation upon this subject until after the Report of the Commission had been presented. He thought it unfair to impose this additional labour upon the County Court Judges, whom he might describe as judicial beasts of burden, upon whom, whenever any new work of judicial business was devised, and it was not known to whom to allot it, the burden was thrown. He objected to the Admiralty jurisdiction in Liverpool being conferred upon the Court of Passage, and to the large fees likely to arise out of the litigation being given to the corporation of that town.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he proposed to introduce an Amendment in Committee relative to the Liverpool Court of Passage,
§ Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a accordingly.