HL Deb 25 July 1898 vol 62 cc977-9

Amendment proposed— Page 2, line 3, after 'shall' insert 'during the term of and.'"—(Lord Fermanagh.)


My Lords, the Amendment which I now propose merely carries out what I presume is the intention of the Bill.


My Lords, that is quite right. The Amendment of my noble Friend does carry out the intention of the Bill, and I accept it.

Question put.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed— Page 2, line 37, after 'justice' insert 'provided that every such ex officio justice shall sit only in such petty sessions, district, or districts as the Lord Chancellor may approve.'"—(Lord Fermanagh.)


My Lords, my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor of Ireland has put an end to a practice which was becoming in some parts a great annoyance. There was a certain class—a small class—of magistrates in Ireland who were what may be called peripatetic magistrates. They spent their time going from one session to another in districts with which they had no possible concern, and this sometimes gave rise to grave judicial scandals. My noble and learned Friend now requires magistrates to state in their application what petty sessions they intend to attend, and they are appointed subject to their attendance at these only, and I believe that if they neglect this rule they are very properly and very rightly pitched into. Now, my Lords, this Bill creates a new class of magistrates under special conditions, and their functions should in my opinion be strictly defined and limited in order to avoid the possibility of scandal's such as I have indicated arising. I will quote a precedent in support of my case. If your Lordships will turn to clause 114, page 87, of the Bill, you will see that it is there provided that— Every existing justice of the county of the town of Qalway, or the county of the town of Carrickfergus, shall be a justice of the county of Galway or of Antrim, as the case requires, in like manner as if he were named a justice in the commission of the peace for such county. And the last three lines of that section say that— Any such existing justice shall, except when at quarter or general sessions, act only within the petty sessional district of which such county of a town forms part. I ask, my Lords, that the provisions which are applicable in this Bill to the justices of Galway and Carrickfergus, may also be applied to the new class of justices whom the Bill proposes to create.


My Lords, my noble Friend who is Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for an important county, is thoroughly acquainted with everything connected with the magistracy of Ireland. It is true that it would be inconvenient for magistrates to go out of their districts habitually, but I do not think there is any prospect of anything like the abuse which has been referred to occurring. I will consider the matter, and if I make up my mind that it will be desirable to insert any words such as those proposed I will communicate with my noble Friend, who will, I hope, after this assurance, withdraw his Amendment.


My Lords, I am not well acquainted with the practice in Ireland, but it will, I think, be a great innovation if the Lord Chancellor is to prescribe where the justice shall act. There may, however, be some difference in the practice in Ireland. If that is so, my observation does not apply.


There is a difference in the practice in Ireland brought about by considerations of convenience. I will consider the matter between now and the Report.


I am quite satisfied, my Lords, to leave the matter in the hands of my noble and learned Friend, and to withdraw my Amendment on that understanding.


My Lords, I wish to ask the Lord Chancellor of Ireland one question. When the chairman of a county council ceases to be chairman, will he also cease to be a justice of the peace?


Yes. I have agreed to accept an Amendment which will make that perfectly clear. The chairman will only be a justice during his term of office as chairman.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question put— That clause 3, as amended, be agreed to.

Motion agreed to.

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