HL Deb 19 June 1879 vol 247 cc133-4

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that its object was to amalgamate in one Central Office certain of the offices and officers connected with the various Divisions of the Supreme Court of Judicature, as had been recommended by a Departmental Commission which sat on the subject. The offices which it proposed to amalgamate were the Record and Writ Clerk's Office, the Enrolment Office, the offices of the Masters of the Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer Divisions, including the Bills of Sale Office, the offices of the Associates of the three Common Law Divisions, the Crown Office, the Queen's Remembrancer's Office, the office of the Registrar of Certificates of Acknowledgments of Deeds by Married Women, and the office of Registrar of Judgments, and such other offices of the Supreme Court as might from time to time be amalgamated with the Central Office by Rules of the Court. The existing holders of these offices were to be transferred to the new Central Office. The Central Office would be under the control of officers called Masters of the Supreme Court. The existing Masters would be continued in their offices. Vacancies in the office of Masters were not to be filled up until the number had been reduced to 18. Future appointments to the office of Master were to be made by the Chiefs of the Common Law Divisions and the Master of the Rolls in rotation; that of Queen's Coroner and Master of the Crown Office by the Lord Chief Justice of England. Another section of the Bill made provision in respect of salaries and pensions as the proposed changes required. A third section laid down rules in regard to making Rules of Court; and there was a fourth section, containing certain miscellaneous provisions with which he would not trouble their Lordships.

Moved,"That the Bill be now read 2a." —(The Lord Chancellor.)


expressed his approval of the Bill; but said that he should have been glad to have seen some greater facility given for making the Chief Clerks in the Chancery Division, when not employed in their own work, interchangeable in the same manner as were the Judges between the various Divisions. He should also have been glad to see some provision for utilizing the services of the Official Referees. They were certainly not overburdened with work in their own Department, and might very advantageously be employed in discharging other work.


admitted that the experiment of the Official Referees had not been a successful one, nor had the work been of the magnitude which was expected. He had called attention to the fact, and strongly urged that portion of the business which was found heavy in Chambers should be sent to the Official Referees. The Master of the Rolls had acted upon the suggestion with some success, and had sent some of the business which ordinarily fell to the Chief Clerks to the Official Referees. The other Judges had not yet acted on the suggestion.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.