HL Deb 06 May 1872 vol 211 cc275-7

LORD CAIRNS moved that the Lords following be named of the Select Committee on Appellate Jurisdiction:—

Ld. Chancellor. L. Rosebery.
Ld. President. L. Chelmsford.
D. Somerset. L. Lyveden.
D. Richmond. L. Westbury.
M. Salisbury. L. Houghton.
E. Derby. L. Romilly.
E. Stanhope. L. Colonsay.
E. Powis. L. Cairns.
E. Grey. L. Penzance.
E. Morley. L. Acton.
E. Beauchamp. L. O'Hagan.
L. Brodrick. L. Blachford.
L. Redesdale.


said, he could not reasonably object to the name of any noble or learned Lord who took an interest in the subject; but he could not help remarking that the Committee as proposed by his noble and learned Friend would have 14 noble Lords from one side, against 11 from the other. The crowded state of the benches on the Opposition side of the House indicated that the subject was treated more as a party question than as a matter for deliberate judgment; and he could not but remark further that of the Members selected from the Government side of the House there were two noble and learned Lords who had expressed themselves strongly against his proposition.


said, the list of the Committee had been prepared after the usual communications between the two sides of the House. There was no intention on his part to do anything unfair.


thought the objection made by his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack a reasonable one, and suggested that the nomination of the Committee should be postponed till to-morrow.


protested against three things which had been done by his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack. First, it was out of Order to speak a second time in the same debate. In the second place, his noble and learned Friend was out of Order in referring to what occurred in a former debate. In the third place, his noble and learned Friend had no right to say that the crowded state of the Opposition benches on Tuesday evening showed that the opposition to his Bill was a party one. He now told his noble and learned Friend that he conscientiously believed he could not have found 20 Peers on the Government side of the House who did not disapprove his Bill.


said, he would like to know how the noble and learned Lord had arrived at that result if he had not made any inquiries as to who were likely to oppose the Government on this question?


said, he was sorry the noble Earl should have interrupted him by so irrelevant a question. He repeated that the list of names had been prepared in accordance with the usual custom in such cases.


said, he must join in the protest against the accusation made by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. The Opposition had not regarded the question of appellate jurisdiction as a party subject—the Bill of the noble and learned Lord had been condemned because it appeared to noble Lords to be an objectionable and a bad measure. His noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns) and those who supported him were justified by the fact that not a single noble Lord on the Government side had said a word in favour of the Bill.


hoped it would not be assumed that every Member of the Committee who came from the Opposition side of the House would oppose all schemes for the improvement of appellate jurisdiction. He also trusted that the practice adopted when "packed juries" were required would not be introduced in that House.


said, the very thing he objected to was a jury packing system. He thought the proposed Committee bore a party complexion.


objected to the assumption that this question of appellate jurisdiction was one of a battle between two parties. The inquiry of the Committee was not to be limited to the scheme of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, but was to embrace the whole subject of appellate jurisdiction.


said, he had to express his gratitude for the information the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) had just given him and the House—namely, that this was not a party question. Certainly, from the state of the Opposition benches on the Tuesday night, and from the speech of his noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns), in which it was suggested that his Bill would be regarded as the first step towards the abolition of the House of Lords, one might have been pardoned for supposing that the debate on his Resolution and his Bill was a party one, and that the subject itself was looked upon in the same light by his noble and learned Friend and those who usually acted with him.


said, he would remind the noble Duke that at an early period of the discussion his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack accepted the proposal to refer the subject to a Select Committee.


desired to ask what was the Question now before the House? It was a mistake to suppose that noble Lords on the Opposition side were opposed to an inquiry into the subject of appellate jurisdiction; but the great majority of their Lordships were determined to retain for that House its appellate jurisdiction till something better was devised.


said, the Constitution invested their Lordships' House with an appellate jurisdiction, and he did not see why that jurisdiction should not be retained. He trusted that there would be no foregone conclusion, and that the ancient appellate jurisdiction of this House, which had worked well, and in which the people had full confidence, would not be abolished in a hasty and summary manner.


said, their Lordships would be glad to learn that a noble Lord (Viscount Ossington) of the highest competency was willing to serve on the Committee, and he should therefore have great pleasure in moving that Lord Ossington's name should be added to the list of names proposed.

Motion agreed to.

And, on Tuesday, the 7th instant, The Viscount Ossington added.

House adjourned at a quarter past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.