§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD O'HAGAN
said, that since the first reading the Bill had been carefully considered by those who were most competent to form an opinion on it, and he was bound to say that there appeared to be no objection to its principle, and no reason why it should not be 1302 read a second time. It proceeded on the lines of the English Judicature Act, which he was happy to hear had been a great success. The objections made by the profession to the Irish Bill of 1874 seemed to have met with consideration at the hands of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and had been largely obviated in this measure. He hoped that as a whole the Bill would receive the sanction of their Lordships and would prove beneficial to Ireland. At the same time, he was bound to say that in respect of the number of the Judges a wiser view had been taken by the Commission of 1863, of which his noble and learned Friend was a Member. That Commission had reported unanimously that there was no reason for a reduction of the number; but in the Bill before their Lordships provision was made for such a reduction. This was a point on which anything he might say was not likely to lead to a reversal of the decision arrived at by the Government; but he thought that nothing had occurred since 1863 which made the Report of the Commissioners upon it less applicable now than when it was made. The fiscal provisions of the Bill, to some of which exception should be taken, were for the House of Commons. The other Amendments which the Bill required were matter for Committee.
THE EARL OF BELMORE
also expressed his approval of the principle of the Bill, though he thought that the measure might be improved in Committee.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he had heard with great pleasure the remarks of his noble and learned Friend and of his noble Friend. Their suggestions in Committee would receive his careful attention.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday the 1st of May next.