§ Amendments reported (according to Order.)
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he was about to propose some further Amendments which had been carefully considered, and which he would recommend their Lordships to adopt. The Government had given their careful consideration to a proposal made by a noble Earl (the Earl of Belmore) in Committee, that the jurisdiction of the Probate Court should be transferred to the Common Pleas Division of the High Court of Justice, and that the number of Divisions should be reduced from four to three. One of the grounds on which this proposal had been put forward was that contested cases of probate from the country might be more conveniently heard in the Common Pleas. But at present the Judge of the Court of Probate, when an inquiry in the country became necessary, had power to direct that it should be heard before the Judge of Assize. Then there was a good deal of non-contentious probate business which might be discharged by one Judge and not by several Judges. Under those circumstances, the Government had felt unable to adopt the Amendment suggested. But he had to propose new clauses, by which, when the number of Judges in the Common Pleas Division should have been reduced from four to three, the Lord Lieutenant in Council should be empowered to order that the fifth Division of the High Court should cease to exist, and should in that case 66 transfer the Judge of the Court of Probate to the Common Pleas Division of the High Court of Justice; there to become a fourth Judge of that Court; but the Probate Judge after being so transferred should possess and exercise the same jurisdiction which he had possessed in the Court for Matrimonial Causes, and also his former jurisdiction in respect of non-contentious testamentary business: and he would propose a similar Amendment to enable the Lord Lieutenant in Council to transfer the Judge of the Court of Bankruptcy to the Exchequer Division of the High Court of Justice.
§ Clauses agreed to and ordered to be inserted in the Bill.
§ Amendments made; an Amendment moved, and negatived.
§ Bill to be Read 3a on Monday next; and Bill to be printed as amended (No. 121).
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
then moved Clauses D. E. P. G. I. to come in after Clause 59, enabling the Lord Lieutenant, by Order in Council, to establish District Registries, from which writs of summons for the commencement of actions in the High Court of Justice might be issued, and other proceedings in such manner as may be prescribed to Rules of Court, be taken, down to and including entry for trial, or, where plaintiff is entitled to sign final judgment for nonappearance, down to and including final judgment. Also a Clause J. enabling the Court or Judge of Division to order that any books or documents, or any accounts taken or inquiries made, by the District Registrar; and in the result of any such accounts having been taken or inquiries made, the report in writing of the District Registrar as to the results may be acted upon by the Court, as to the Court shall seem fit.
§ Clauses agreed to and added to the Bill.