HL Deb 08 July 1904 vol 137 cc1083-4

My Lords, I rise to ask the Lord Chancellor whether his attention has been called to the fact reported in the newspaper that the Judge of the City of London Court stated in Court that a suitor in that Court, a gentleman styling himself Lord de Morley, was a Peer of the Realm; and whether it was not the fact that the gentleman in question, who claims to be an heir or co-heir of that barony, has never had his claim considered by the Committee of Privileges, and therefore can have no claim to be designated a Peer. I should, perhaps, state that the barony is quite a different one from that in respect of which my noble friend Lord De Mauley sits in this House, and the title is spelt in a different way. I may say that I have no wish to criticise the claim of this gentleman to the title, which may, or may not, prove to be a good one when it comes to be considered by the Committee of Privileges, but it does seem to me that a statement made by a Judge in Court in this manner is very likely to be misconstrued by persons who are not conversant with the practice of the Committee of Privileges and of your Lordships' House, for they may attach to it a weight and authority it does not possess, and it is for that reason, and knowing how rightly jealous your Lordships are of the dignity and privileges of this House, that I have ventured to call attention to this matter.


My Lords, I am sorry that I have not been able to verify the exact quotation from the learned Judge, chiefly because I suspect that he must have been misunderstood or misreported. It is probable that the learned Judge was endeavouring to disclaim, on the part of this gentleman, with whom he seemed to be acquainted, that he was a mere impostor, the phrase used apparently being that the gentleman was "by no means a bogus Peer. "The Judge was evidently endeavouring to say that the gentleman was not claiming to be what he had no right to claim, but that he was a perfectly respectable gentleman. I believe that to be true; I know nothing against the gentleman. He appeared before me when I was presiding over the Court of Claims, and claimed to be a Peer, and I informed him that he must prove his case before the proper tribunal. No one can entertain any doubt as to the impropriety of a Judge, or anybody else, pronouncing judgment upon a matter which has not been heard, and which can only be heard by your Lordships' House. I think it extremely improbable, however, that the learned Judge actually used the words attributed to him, and that the misapprehension was due to an error in the report.

House adjourned at twenty minutes past Six o'clock, to Monday next, a quarter before Eleven o'clock.