THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
In moving that the House resolve itself into Committee on this Bill, I wish to say a few words. Your Lordships will observe that since the Bill was read a second time all reference to Ireland has been omitted from it and the measure is now limited to England and Wales. I regret that very much, because I think the provisions of the Bill are even more necessary for Ireland than they are for England and Wales. It was found, however, when the Bill was under the consideration of the Standing Committee that there were many reasons connected with drafting and the necessity of referring to several clauses in other Acts of Parliament, and matters of that kind, which rendered it almost impossible in the present period of the Session to deal with the case of Ireland or to make the Bill applicable to Ireland. I hope that noble Lords who are connected with Ireland will bear the case of that country in mind, and, for my own part, I shall be very glad to support a similar measure for Ireland in the next Session of Parliament.
§ * EARL SPENCER
I should only like to add a word or two to what my noble Friend has said with regard to Ireland, because I believe if there is a necessity for a Bill of this sort in England there is 474 a still stronger necessity for it in Ireland. I had a long experience in regard to Sheriffs there, and I know there was always the greatest possible difficulty in obtaining proper men to serve the office. The expenses of the shrievalty fall with extreme weight in Ireland upon proprietors, and, therefore, I should be very glad if the subject could be dealt with on a future occasion.
§ House in Committee (on re-commitment) (according to order).
§ Clause 3.
§ * THE EARL OF SELBORNE
My Lords, I take the liberty of submitting to your Lordships that the Lord Chancellor ought to have associated with him, for the purpose of assenting to the rules which may be made under this Act, the Lord Chief Justice of England. I have been informed that that matter was considered before the Select Committee, and that they did not adopt that view; but I have so strong an opinion about it that I feel it to be my duty to submit it to your Lordships. It, of course, will be treated by your Lordships without the smallest reference to any personal consideration whatever, excepting this: that experience in past times has shown that the office of Lord Chancellor may sometimes be filled by those who have no experience of the circuits, and no special knowledge which would make them so well able as some other Judges might be to determine what are the rules required for this purpose. Now, the Lord Chief Justice of England is the President of that Division of the High Court which is specially concerned in this matter, and from which all the Judges who go circuit are taken; and the Lord Chief Justice of England, as the head of that body, and in communication with them, would be the person who naturally would collect their opinions upon any matters specially affecting that Division, himself also having had experience, I may say, universally, of circuit business, both originally at the Bar and afterwards by going the Assizes. He, therefore, has the knowledge which would be specially necessary for this purpose. I do think the person, whoever he may be, who fills that great office, is specially pointed out for the performance of that duty. I see no objection to associating him in it 475 with the Lord Chancellor; and the Lord Chancellor, as head of the Supreme Court, may properly, I think, be associated with him. From the experience I have had of cases in which the co-operation of two Judges has been necessary, I have no doubt whatever that they will be able perfectly to agree in the discharge of this duty, and if in any point they should differ, then, as it appears to me, the very fact of this difference would be a good reason why the particular rule of which one of them might disapprove should not be adopted I cannot but think it would be a serious mistake to expose the working of this Bill to the possibility of dissatisfaction on the part of the Judges by the omission of the parson who is naturally pointed out by his position as one who ought to have at least a voice in this matter. What reasons may operate in any minds to the contrary I do not know, but I know from my own experience the great importance of doing everything which can be done to avoid friction among persons filling the high offices of which I have spoken. The best way of avoiding that friction, in my opinion, is to place confidence where it ought to be placed, and not to appear to refuse to one great office a function which the propriety of things seem specially to point out for it. I need not enlarge further upon the matter, but I feel that I should not have been doing my duty if I had not endeavoured to impress these considerations upon your Lordships.
§ Amendment moved in Clause 3, page 1, line 21, after ("Lord Chancellor") add ("and the Lord Chief Justice of England.")—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I heartily concur in the Motion which has been made. It may perhaps be in your Lordships' recollection that when the subject was discussed in this House, and some observations were made by the Lord Chief Justice on the subject, I said that I would myself propose not indeed the exact Amendment which the noble and learned Lord has mentioned, but substituting the office of Lord Chief Justice for that of the Lord Chancellor. I was not a Member of the Committee to which the Bill was referred, and, therefore, I could not redeem my promise; but I now desire to state that I heartily recom- 476 mend it to your Lordships' acceptance. There is only one observation which I should like to make. The noble Earl seemed to suggest that by some possibility there might be some disagreement between those two high officers on such a subject. Now, I cannot imagine that there could be any. It is quite impossible to suppose that on such a subject there could be any real difference of opinion. I am quite sure that either would take the opinion of the other without the least friction arising between them.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I have very considerable hesitation in offering any opposition to this proposal, backed as it has been by both the noble and learned Lords who have spoken, whose opinions very rightly command the confidence of the House in any matter which relates to law, but, at the same time, I shall be guided in the course which I shall take entirely by the apparent sense of the House. Unfortunately, I am bound to say I do not concur in the opinions which have just been expressed, and I will give my reasons very shortly. In the first place, I can assure the noble and learned Lord who made the Motion, that, like himself, I have no idea of pointing to any personal reference at all in any remarks which I may make. Now, the reason why, in the first instance, I inserted the office of Lord Chancellor was because, in all Bills of this kind, it has been customary to specify the Lord Chancellor in connection with regulations whenever they happen to be made. It has always been understood that when regulations are made with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, he has taken the steps which are necessary to satisfy himself that those regulations are proper, and, presumably, of course, in a case of this kind the Lord Chancellor would have consulted the Judges. This proposal, as has been mentioned, was considered in Committee, and hearing of it when it was first made, for it was made rather suddenly, I was myself rather disposed to accept it; and it was not until I had considered it a little further that I thought it would be better to retain the Bill in the form in which it now stands. Of course, it is quite possible, as it has been stated, that the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice might not agree with regard to 477 any particular regulation. In that case, either the Lord Chancellor or the Lord Chief Justice would be able to stop any regulation; and as to whether that would or would not be right, your Lordships will be able, each of you, to form your own opinion. It may be thought that the Lord Chief Justice, who, as has been stated, is familiar with circuits, and who does himself go circuit, should not make the regulations, as it is clear he would be able practically to make the regulations for his own reception and for the reception of the other Judges. I do not wish to make any strong statement upon the matter; but, still, it was stated very clearly to the Committee that the arrangements which had been made had not always been very satisfactory to the High Sheriffs, and, in some cases, had been felt by them to bear rather hardly upon them. Of course, at the present time, the power which the Judges have with regard to their reception is an absolute and a despotic power. If anything is not done which they think ought to be done, they have a very strong argument in their own hands, and can settle the matter in the way which they think best. It is, I submit to your Lordships, scarcely desirable, especially after the evidence that was given to the Committee, that that practice should continue. That is a matter which the House must decide, and I would myself rather see the Bill stand as it is at present. I think the Lord Chancellor's name is quite a sufficient guarantee that all due regulations will be made for the proper reception of the Judges. If your Lordships prefer, as the two noble and learned Lords have suggested, that the office of the Lord Chief Justice of England should be inserted, I must then accept it; but, for myself, if I receive support from the House, I shall feel compelled to take the sense of the House on the question.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
This matter was discussed, as has been mentioned, in the Standing Committee, and I confess, with the greatest possible deference and respect to the two noble and learned Lords, I have a very strong opinion indeed against inserting the name of the Lord Chief Justice. My opinion is, that if that be done, you will almost certainly have that very friction which we all desire to avoid. You must 478 remember what the nature of this clause is. It is not that the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice are to make the necessary regulations, but it is the County Council in each county which is to make the regulations, subject to the assent of the Lord Chancellor; and while I think it is quite possible that the matter can be settled satisfactorily with the County Council by the Lord Chancellor after he has ascertained the views of the whole of the Judges, I cannot help feeling that if you put in this clause, however great our respect for those high officers may be, there will occur some friction which we would most particularly desire to avoid between the County Councils and those who have to determine and decide upon the regulations. It seems to me upon principle to be wrong that any persons, however high in position, should themselves make regulations affecting themselves, as in this case, for the reception of the Judges. We know that no person, whoever he may be, is a good Judge in his own cause; and it is much better in a matter of this kind, which, after all, is not a very serious one, but a matter in which we should all desire that every attention and respect should be paid to the Judges, that no friction should occur. It seems to me that if the Lord Chancellor, who has fall opportunity of consultation with the Judges, should himself determine whether the regulations as settled by the County Council are satisfactory, that would be much more likely to lead to no further comment than if the name of the Lord Chief Justice were put in.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I do not think this matter is one of very great importance, but I cannot altogether agree with my noble and learned Friend who spoke just now, that it is a matter which concerns the Judges only, that is to say, the manner in which they are to be received on circuit. I believe it is of very great importance, as regards the administration of justice, that due and proper respect should be paid to the Judges as they go on their legal duties to the various counties of England. If the spirit in which this measure is to be worked is, that it is intended that the counties shall discharge that obligation as cheaply as possible, or as economically as they can, which seems rather to be the suggestion now made, I think more evil than good 479 will result from it, and the disadvantages will be greater than any advantage that the Bill will bring. This, of course, I may remind your Lordships, is not a matter in which I am, or ever could be, concerned; and I may, therefore, the more be allowed to point out that there is sometimes a disposition to underestimate the effect which is produced upon the public mind by the appearance of the Judges at Assizes, and the respect with which they are received as they make their entrance at the different towns on their circuits. There is, I own, to my mind, a considerable danger and evil which may arise. Under this Bill you are to have regulations made by each County Council separately. Now, I quite agree that there are many County Councils which probably will deal with this matter in the right spirit and thoroughly well; but I do not know that I feel satisfied it is an absolute certainty that every County Council will deal with the matter in the same spirit, and with the same degree of efficiency throughout the counties of England and Wales. Therefore, it seems to me that there is a necessity for this matter being closely watched and scrutinised; but I desire to enter my protest against the notion that it is the desire of the Judges from any personal interest or to gratify any desire for display or vanity on their part that this attention should be paid to them. It is a matter of the respect due to the administration of justice, and not merely to the individuals who administer it.
* THE MARQUESS OF BATH
Surely, my Lords, the Lord Chancellor can be trusted to consult in this matter with the Judges, and only to sanction those arrangements which he thinks right and proper. It is, I think, a most invidious position in which to propose to place the Lord Chief Justice, who himself goes circuit, that he should appear as objecting apparently in his own interest to any regulations or arrangements which the County Councils may think fit to make. It is really in his interest and for his dignity that any objections which are to be made should come from the Lord Chancellor and not from the Lord Chief Justice, who himself goes circuit. But, my Lords, it is no use to attempt in this House to ignore things which are said 480 outside the House, and there is no doubt there have been great complaints with regard to the exactions, if I may use the word, which have been made occasionally by Judges upon the unfortunate gentlemen who have had the honour to fill the office of High Sheriff; and there is no doubt that if the Lord Chief Justice, as representing the Judges, is placed in the position of I will not say disputing with the County Councils, but of objecting to the arrangements made by the County Councils with regard to his own reception, you will not find that the County Councils will bear with as much equanimity and silence what they may consider undue exactions made upon them as the High Sheriffs have felt themselves compelled to display in the past.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
It is quite certain this matter is not being argued upon Party grounds; but I would point out as rather remarkable that the only Peers who object to the decision of the Committee are the Lord Chancellor and two ex-Lord Chancellors.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I beg the noble Lord's pardon. I took no objection with regard to the point upon the Bill as it stands. I only answered some remarks which were made by my noble Friend. I said nothing on the subject of this particular Amendment.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I really think there has been too much modesty shown in the matter by my noble Friends with regard to the question of competence on the part of so high an officer to decide these questions, which after all are not of the greatest importance. I am sure all your Lordships will agree that the two things to be combined as much as possible, are, that on the one hand there should be sufficient respect and dignity attending the circuits of the Judges, and, on the other hand, that there should be no unnecessary expenses unfairly bearing upon the High Sheriffs. But one thing I cannot assume with the noble Lords, and that is that there is no danger of a conflict of opinion. I think we have all known lawyers disagree; we have often seen Judges of different opinions; and I think it is a much more serious consideration that there should be no conflict between the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice upon such a point than that the Lord Chan- 481 cellor should go wrong, and perhaps decide that there should only be two horses instead of four to the Judge's carriage. Therefore, I think if the noble Earl presses the question I shall feel myself bound to support Lord Camper-down.
§ * THE EARL OF SELBORNE
I am bound to say that the arguments I have heard against the Motion would tend fully to confirm my view, because they seem to depend upon a want of confidence in the Judges, as represented by the Lord Chief Justice, for which I am perfectly sure there is no ground what ever, and to which I should be very sorry indeed to see this House appear to give its countenance.
§ On Question, their Lordships divided: —Contents 18; Not-Contents 40.
§ Resolved in the negative.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I have another Amendment in Clause 3, after the word "Assizes" to omit all the words down to the end of the first subsection, in order to insert the words "and otherwise as to the duties to be discharged with reference to the Judges and Assizes." The proposal which I am now making is to restore the Bill to the same shape as it was in before it entered Committee. When the Bill was in the Standing Committee, Lord Harrow by proposed to insert the words which now appear in the Bill, and his words differ from mine, inasmuch as they limit the regulations more than my words do. As the Bill now stands, the County Council and the Lord Chancellor will have power to make regulations only as to certain very definite things in connection with the reception and accommodation of the Judges. My words are wider, and would empower them to make any regulations as to matters connected with the reception and accommodation of the Judges, and which are not exactly specified. There is one instance which I think is pertinent and which is alluded to in an Amendment coming later, where Lord how is proposes to settle whether uniform is or not to be worn by the Sheriff. Under my words a regulation of that sort, if thought necessary, might be made by the County Councils with a reference to the Lord Chancellor. As the clause stands, I think it would be hardly competent for that to be done. 482 That is the difference between the two cases, and I shall be guided by the sense of the House whether the words should stand as they are now or as I would prefer them. When the matter was proposed in Standing Committee the votes were equal, and though, owing to the particular form in which the question was put according to the forms of your Lordships' House, the Amendment being carried by the casting vote of the Chairman, it appears as at present, I think the intention was that it should be rejected. However, the words originally in the Bill were struck out and new words inserted.
Amendment moved, in Clause 3, page 1, line 23, leave out—
And as to the provision of the necessary accommodation, and as to keeping order within the precincts of the court of assize") and insert ("and otherwise as to the duties to he discharged with reference to the judges and assizes.")—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ THE EARL OF HARROWBY
As I inserted these words in Committee perhaps I ought to explain why I was anxious to pat them in instead of the words of the noble Earl. The first thing to be observed about this Bill is that it had really to do with the expenses of the Sheriffs. Now, all matters connected with expenses it is most right and proper that the County Councils should make rules in regard to, and those matters are amply set out in the clause as it stands now—That the County Councils shall, with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor, make regulations as to the mode in which in their respective counties the Judges are to be received at the Assizes.That would include the expense of meeting them at the station, providing equipages, the expenses of lodgings, and as to the arrangements at the Courts of Assize, that is to say, keeping order and employing javelin-men or police. But the noble Earl goes further, and wishes to extend it generally as to the duties to be discharged with reference to the Judges of Assize. It seems to me a strong thing to say that the County Councils should lay down rules for the procedure of this very high officer the High Sheriff, as to receiving the Judges of the land. After all, the High Sheriff is one of the first officers in each county. He is supposed to rank even before the 483 Lord Lieutenant, who is the Queen's Representative in the county, and I do not think it is consistent with the proprieties of county life that the County Councils should lay down rules for the High Sheriff's guidance with regard to the Judges. Indeed, I do not think the County Councils would in the least desire to interfere in that way; in fact, I am sure mine would desire to avoid laying down rules as to the duties of the High Sheriff. I think, by doing this, we should give offence in many quarters in the counties. It is also quite inconsistent, I think, with regard to the Assizes themselves, and if there are any rules to be made for the guidance of the High Sheriff in his relations with the highest authorities in the land, I think that the Lord Chancellor should make them, and that it is quite inconsistent that the County Councils should do so. I am afraid, therefore, I must oppose this Amendment.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I should be glad if the noble Earl would explain what he particularly means by the words "the duties referred to," because, as has been pointed out, there may be duties beyond the mere duties of reception and expenses of lodgings.
* THE MARQUESS OF BATH
You are placing the expenses of receiving the Judges upon the County Councils, and if you place on them the duty of paying their expenses it is fair and right that the County Councils should make the regulations, subject of course to the Lord Chancellor's assent. But supposing there are other duties, as suggested, involved in regard to the High Sheriff, it will be possible as the clause now stands, without the Amendment of the noble Earl, for those duties still to be thrown upon the High Sheriff, involving expenses other than those involved in the duties which are provided for by this Act? No good whatever will have been done, and the Bill will be inoperative if the Judges can impose duties involving expense on the High Sheriff.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
The noble and learned Lord has asked me what duties I refer to. Well, I have left the duties undetermined, and I rather purposely left them so, because I think there are matters such as I referred to, with regard to wearing uniform and 484 little matters of that kind, which I think it may be quite right to make regulations about, and which, if you retain the words in the Bill as they now stand, I think the Lord Chancellor and the County Councils would be precluded from considering. But as I have said, I shall not take the sense of the House upon this proposal, unless I see very evidently that the House is with me, and I may say that at the present moment I am rather inclined to withdraw the Amendment.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I will tell the noble Earl at once that I am very apprehensive of the effect of the words. The duty of the Sheriffs in relation to the Judges at Assizes is to' carry out the orders, of the Court. Of course the noble Earl did not contemplate such a thing, but I think the words do.
§ Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBROOK
The Amendments which I have to move are chiefly what are called drafting Amendments. There is some difficulty in dealing with counties which are divided into Ridings and Divisions. Those matters have been very carefully attended to by the draftsman, and also by my noble Friend Lord Wenlock, whom I do not see in his place, but I may inform the House that he assents to the form in which they are put.
Amendments moved, in Clause 3, page 1, line 28, leave out ("county") and insert ("joint;") in page 2, line 3, leave out ("section two") andinsert ("the foregoing provisions of this Act;") in line 4, leave out from ("defrayed,") to the end of line 6, and insert—
("By the several administrative counties in such manner as is provided by the practice heretofore adopted or in such other manner as may he from time to time agreed upon by the councils of the several administrative counties, or in default of agreement may, upon the application of any of such councils, be determined by arbitration in manner provided by the Local Government Act, 1888, and each county council shall pay the sum so apportioned to the treasurer of the joint committee.")
Clause 4, page 2, line 18, at end of line insert—
("In the case of the counties divided into ridings and divisions, and mentioned in section forty-six of the Local Government Act,
1888, the several standing joint committees of the ridings or division shall not under this section in such rotation or at such assizes as the joint committee of the county councils formed in pursuance of the said section may determine.")
At end of clause insert ("section nine of the Sheriffs Act, 1887, is hereby repealed."—(Viscount Cranbrook.)
§ LORD MONK BRETTON
In regard to the Amendment in line 4,I have a verbal Amendment. That Amendment differs from the one of which my noble Friend has given notice before. He has set out, or intended to set out, I think, the words of Section 46 of the Local Government Act, and, I suppose, per incuriam, some words have been omitted which are in that section of the Act. It should be "in such manner as provided by the practice here to fore adopted or."
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
I think those words were omitted on purpose. I believe it will be found that was so.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBROOK
The objection was taken that they wished to have greater freedom than the Act allowed. I was not at the further Conference which took place about it; but perhaps, under the circumstances, my noble Friend will allow it to stand over until I can communicate.
§ * THE EARL OF POWIS
I move to add after Clause 3 the following new clause: "A sheriff shall not be required to attend in Court dress or in uniform during the Assizes." The practice has greatly extended itself over England of requiring the Sheriffs to appear in Court dress or in full uniform. Now, that is a very useless and unnecessary burden to inflict on a small squire who may be serving the office of High Sheriff, for he is thereby forced to spend £20 or £25 upon a coat which he will never be required to wear again. Before I became a Peer I regularly attended at the Assizes both in Shropshire and Montgomeryshire upon the Oxford and North Wales Circuits, and I never saw in either of those counties the High Sheriff appearing in full uniform. He simply bore a wand in his hand, as the Mayor of a town does on ceremonial occasions, or like a Lord Chamberlain, and he appeared in his ordinary dress. 486 In some of the richer counties some of the men who took the office of High Sheriff for the sake of improving their social position thought, apparently, it would add to the display to put on, quite as a voluntary action, a handsome uniform. Then the custom spread, and at last the Judges required it as a right. I have several times seen in the papers accounts of the Judges insisting upon it; and in one case a Judge threatened to fine an unfortunate Sheriff who had not done so £500 if he did not appear in uniform the next day. The subject was touched upon by the Committee upon this Bill, over which the noble Earl opposite, who introduced this Bill, presided, and they reported that it was a custom which there was no lawful power of enforcing. In that state of things, I think it is much better that your Lordships should express an opinion that this custom should cease than that it should be left to be a matter of contention or arrangement in different counties under the approval of the Lord Chancellor. If it were an old custom I should not say that; but as it is a custom which has grown up within my own memory in counties where it did not originally exist, I think we should express an opinion consistent with that expressed by Lord Camperdown's Committee—that it is not a regulation which the Judges have a right to enforce, and that we should simply say that High Sheriffs are not to be required to attend in Court dress or uniform.
Amendment moved, at end of Clause 3, to insert as a new clause—
A Sheriff shall not he required to attend in Court dress, or in uniform during the Assizes."—(The Earl of Powis.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I hope my noble Friend will not insist upon this Amendment. It seems to me we are descending into very small particulars when the House of Lords is discussing what kind of a coat a High Sheriff is to wear. For the sake of the dignity of the House I will only repeat that I hope the noble Lord will not press his Amendment. For myself, I am able to say that, although I was 25 years on circuit, I never heard of such a controversy as my noble Friend refers to. No doubt High Sheriffs have, from time to time, elected to appear in Court dress, but the notion of a Judge threatening to fine a Sheriff £500 because he did not 487 appear in Court dress is one of those amiable fictions which the noble Lord must have read in some newspaper or other; and unless he tells me that he is himself cognisant of it, that it is within his own knowledge, I shall not believe it.
§ * LORD BRAMWELL
I quite concur with my noble and learned Friend. I trust the noble Lord will not persevere in this Amendment, not that I wish High Sheriffs to appear in Court dress or uniform; far from it; but because really there is no necessity for it, because, indeed, there is no law or usage which makes it requisite for them to do so. I claim to speak with some authority in this matter, for I suppose, including Winter Commissions, I must have been some 50 circuits, and have seen, therefore, some 50 different High Sheriffs. When I first went I went with Senior Judges, and I had the advantage of their experience at that time; and I will undertake to say that I never heard of such a thing as that a High Sheriff is bound to present himself in any other dress than the ordinary dress of a gentleman. I concur with my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor in feeling surprise that it should have been said that any Judge could by any possibility have so far forgotten himself as to threaten to fine a High Sheriff £500 because he had not appeared in costume or got some particular dress on. Really, my Lords, I do ask you to look upon me as an authority in this matter. The Amendment is not required. In addition to that, it is rather beneath the dignity of Imperial legislation, and I do trust, therefore, that the noble Earl will not persist in his Motion, particularly when it is borne in mind that if the question could by any possibility arise I suppose the County Councils could, with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, regulate the apparel to be worn by the High Sheriff.
§ * LORD MONK BRETTON
As the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack called for an instance I will give him one. The Lord Chancellor asked whether there was a case within the knowledge of my noble Friend of a difference arising between a Judge and a High Sheriff. I have had in my experience a case when I was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancas- 488 ter. I received a letter from a gentleman who was to be High Sheriff, stating that the Assizes at Liverpool would not improbably last three weeks, and representing that during that time he would have "to live in Court dress," which he thought a serious inconvenience. He wrote to me, as I have stated, as Chancellor of the Duchy to know whether he could not be relieved from that necessity. In consequence, I made an application to the Lord Chief Justice, who communicated with the Judge on the Circuit, and an arrangement was made by which the High Sheriff was only to appear in Court dress on the first day of the Assizes. I am very glad to hear, what I understand to be the result of this discussion, that there is no obligation on the part of the Sheriffs to appear in Court dress or in uniform, and that the Judges have no power to fine or otherwise to molest them if they appear in their ordinary dress. Certainly I do not think that is the prevailing impression on the part of the public or of the High Sheriffs, and I question if it is that of many of the Judges themselves. I quite agree that it is a very small matter for the House of Lords to legislate about, but if it is now distinctly understood and goes forth to the public on high authority that there is no obligation on High Sheriffs to wear Court dress or uniform, and that if they do so it is entirely optional on their part, I think the whole object which my noble Friend who moved this clause has in view will be answered, and that he will see that it is unnecessary for him to further press his Amendment.
§ * THE EARL OF POWIS
I think that what has fallen from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack and the noble and learned Lord on the Cross Benches (Lord Bramwell) is as good as a clause, and I will, therefore, withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ Clause 4.
§ Amendments made.
§ Report of Amendments to be received or Thursday next; and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 218.)
§ House adjourned during pleasure; and resumed by the Earl of Morley.