No. 81
13 November 1867
With reference to your Despatch of the 10th July upon the subject of the judicial arrangements to be made in consequence of the Union of Vancouver Island with British Columbia, and to the Memorandum of Mr. Begbie and the report of the Attorney General transmittedtherewithManuscript image therewith, I must express my regret that you should have met with so much opposition and difficulty with regard to the scheme proposed in my Despatch of the 14th March, a scheme which though it may be open to some objection on the ground that it contemplated the existence for a certain time of two Supreme Courts in the Colony, was, as I still continue to think, well calculated, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, to remove the existing difficulties, and to secure the due administration of justice,whileManuscript image while affecting, as little as possible, existing rights and interests.
The question whether such a scheme could be carried out by a local Ordinance had been duly considered, and no doubt was entertained but that the Colonial Legislature had the power, if they were so minded, to pass such an Ordinance under the provisions of the 5th Section of the Act "to remove doubts as to the validity of Colonial Laws," an Act which I am inclined to believe must have escaped the attention ofbothManuscript image both the Judges and the Attorney General.
Under the circumstances, however, I thought it desirable, when laying a case before the Law Officers of the Crown for their opinion, to submit this point also to them, and to lay before them a draft Ordinance framed to carry into effect the above mentioned scheme, in case they should be of opinion that such a scheme might be carried out by a local Ordinance.
I have now to inform you that I am advised bytheManuscript image the Law Officers that, although the question is not entirely free from doubt, the Supreme Court of Civil Justice of Vancouver Island continued to exist notwithstanding the passing of the British Columbia Act 1866, that no doubt can be entertained respecting the power of the legislature of British Columbia to make Laws abolishing, reconstituting, or altering the constitution of the last mentioned Court, and that the draft Ordinance submitted to them will, if passed by the Legislature of British Columbia, give effect totheManuscript image the intention proposed, and that it is not open to objection on any of the grounds indicated by Mr. Begbie, or on any other grounds.
I transmit to you for your information and guidance a Copy of the draft Ordinance which has been submitted to and approved of by the Law Officers; and I trust that it may receive the careful consideration and approval of your Legislature, and thus be the means of putting an end to the questions which have been raised in the Colony.
InManuscript image
In case this or any similar Ordinance be passed by your Legislature it will be necessary to add a Clause explaining the term "Supreme Court of Civil Justice of British Columbia" which has been adopted in recent Ordinances, and to declare which Court in each case is to be taken as referred to.
Should any further question arise as to the payment of the Salaries of the Judges, or as to making the same charges upon the revenues of the Colony, whichhoweverManuscript image however I do not anticipate, I need hardly point out to you how very desirable it will be that such questions should, as soon as possible, be set at rest by Legislation; and this observation applies to any alterations in the seals of the two Courts, the forms of process and so forth, which may have become necessary by reason of the Union of the two Colonies.
I am quite unable to understand the difficulty which is supposed to exist in the temporary establishment of twoSupremeManuscript image Supreme Courts in the same Colony. No difficulty is experienced in this Country from the co-existence of the Queen's Bench and the Court of Common Pleas, or from the co-existence of the English and Irish Courts of Justice.
I have the honor to be
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Buckingham & Chandos
Other documents included in the file
Manuscript image
"Sketch of Ordinace for regulating the Supreme Courts of Justice of British Columbia."
People in this document

Begbie, Matthew Baillie

Grenville, Richard

Seymour, Frederick

Organizations in this document

Colonial Office

Law Officers

Places in this document

British Columbia

Vancouver Island