HL Deb 22 June 1888 vol 327 cc966-8

House in Committee (according to order).

Clauses 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 4 (Cork and Belfast local bankruptcy courts).


begged to move the omission of the clause. This was a subject which affected the taxpayers of the United Kingdom, as from his experience he could not fail to see that this measure, if passed, would entail very considerable and unjustifiable expense. He pointed out that there were no less than four Bills pending at present in the House of Commons having reference to the reduction of the judicial strength in Dublin, and other matters connected with the administration of the law, and he contended that it would be unwise, as it was unnecessary, to enact such a measure as this.

Moved, to omit Clause 4.—(The Lord Fitzgerald.)


said, he was tolerably familiar with the Bills pending in the House of Commons to which his noble and learned Friend had referred, and he was bound to say that he entirely failed to see the relevancy of these Bills to the Bill now before their Lordships, and if they were passed by their Lordships, they would not have the remotest bearing upon this question of Local Bankruptcy at all. Then his noble and learned Friend raised the point of increased expenditure, and he ventured to think that there was not one of their Lordships who would not have supposed, from his noble and learned Friend's remarks, that by this moderate Bill he proposed to manufacture two brand new Courts, two brand new Judges, with brand new officials. Nothing of the kind. It only proposed to utilize existing Judges and existing officers, and only supplemented these officers where it was proved to be absolutely necessary. The only proposal it made was that it conferred upon existing Judges this much sought after and desired local bankruptcy jurisdiction. Since this question was last before their Lordships a meeting had been held in Cork which was attended by all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, and at which Resolutions had been passed strongly in favour of this Bill being passed. The Recorder of Cork alone, as far as his noble and learned friend had stated, was against it. And in Belfast there was a large meeting held in favour of this Bill. He found that the Chambers of Commerce of England and the United Kingdom had passed Resolutions in favour of local bankruptcy jurisdiction and in favour of such legislation taking place in Ireland. What authorities was his noble and learned Friend able to marshal against the Bill? Mr. Richard Davoren, a highly respectable solicitor practising in the Dublin Bankruptcy Court, of course, was against it, and another respectable solicitor, Mr. Bennett Thompson, gave his individual opinion against it, and he was bound to say that a more meagre support had never been given to the opposition to a Bill than the letter written by the Secretary of the Incorporated Law Society saying that they did not wish any further action to be taken in that House with regard to this Bill. Last year three Bills had been introduced into the House of Commons on this very question, one of them by Mr. Sexton, who was known not to be a Conservative. That Bill was referred to a Select Committee, with Mr. Sexton as Chairman, and in all essential lines this Bill was the same as the Bill when it emerged from the Select Committee. Then they were asked not to pass this Bill because Mr. Chamberlain's Act of 1883 worked well. Mr. Chamberlain's Bill of 1883 made important changes in the law and procedure. This Bill made no change whatever in the law, and if it was thought desirable afterwards to adopt any or all of the provisions of the Act of 1883, there would be nothing in this Bill to interfere with that being done. He hoped their Lordships would consider it unreasonable to withhold what was sought for for a great many reasons—namely, the establishment of local bankruptcy jurisdiction, and that they would give it in the way which commended itself to the judgment of all those most interested in this question.


thought it was desirable that facilities for bankruptcy proceedings should be extended locally in Ireland. When he was in Ireland representations were made to him from different parts of the country strongly urging the Government not to drop the clauses with regard to Ireland which originally appeared in the Bill of 1883. He would be the last person to wish to add to the already overgrown judicial state of Ireland; but when he read the Bill he did not understand it would necessitate anything like the expense his noble and learned Friend feared—considering that no new Judges or officers would be required. He hoped that the greatest possible care would be taken to see that the salaries and allowances under it would be moderate. If his noble and learned Friend had pressed his Motion to a Division he certainly should be obliged to vote against him and in favour of the Bill.

Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.

Bill reported without Amendment; and to be read 3a on Friday next.

House adjourned at Eight o'clock, to Monday next, a quarter before Eleven o'clock.