HL Deb 04 August 1897 vol 52 cc321-2

, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said it was an important and useful Measure, calculated to render more efficient the working of the judicial institutions of Ireland and, at the same time, to effect a substantial saving in the cost of administration. There were at present four divisions of the High Court of Justice in Ireland—the Chancery Division, the Queen's Bench Division, the Exchequer Division, and the Probate and Matrimonial Division—and outside the High Court stood the Court of Bankruptcy. The Exchequer Division, under the provisions of an Act passed eight years ago, was, in the retirement of the present Lord Chief Baron, to be merged in the Queen's Bench Division; but Lord Chief Baron Pallas, one of the most respected and distinguished of the Irish Judges, had, with great public spirit, consented and desired that this consolidation of the two Courts should be no longer deferred. The Bill also proposed the consolidation of the Probate and Matrimonial Division, but that was not to take place until the death of the present distinguished Judge who had presided over the Court for 29 years; and also that the Bankruptcy Court should be united with the High Court. This would permit of a free interchange of duties among the Judges, and would facilitate largely judicial action. Three Judgeships were to be abolished—the Judgeship of the Probate and Matrimonial Division, when the present Judge ceased to hold office, and the two Judgeships of the Bankruptcy Court at once—which would effect a saving in judicial salaries alone, independent of a substantial prospective saving of officials' salaries arising from the consequent consolidation of offices, of £7,500 a year. These changes had been rendered feasible by the fact that there were now three Judgeships vacant in Ireland. Among the other provisions of the Bill was one, which had excited great interest in Ireland, enabling the savings to be applied in Ireland to purposes that Parliament may from time to time prescribe.

Read 2a (according to Order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.