PUBLIC BUSINESS. - PRIVATE BILL COSTS BILL, 1924—(FIRST STAGE).

I beg leave to introduce a Bill to make provision for the awarding of costs in proceedings in relation to Private Bills before either House of the Oireachtas or a Committee of either such House or a Joint Committee of both such Houses, and for the taxation of such costs. The remarks I made in regard to the previous Bill apply also to this Bill. I should also like to state that we consulted both the Attorney-General, and the Parliamentary draftsmen, and it was deemed desirable to introduce this Bill as a temporary Bill in order to adapt and to apply to the Saorstát the code of British Acts which deal with Private Bill Procedure. A number of questions have arisen, and the Committee were acting on the procedure as it has been adopted, but for which it is doubtful if there is proper legal sanction. It is essential that a Bill of this character should be passed, particularly before the three Bills dealing with electricity supply are examined in the autumn.

It is the intention of the Attorney-General, at the request of the Joint Committee on Private Business, to introduce at a later stage a Bill which will set up some different procedure, in some respects, to that which has been adopted at Westminster and which will really repeal this Bill which I am now asking leave to introduce. I think it will be reasonably obvious to Senators that it would take considerable time and care to draft and prepare a Bill dealing with all the intricate questions affecting Private Business. We felt that the best thing to do was to adopt the existing procedure, which is known to solicitors and others, and carry that on for the next autumn. The Acts which require to be applied and which will be dealt with in the Bill are:—

Parliamentary Deposits Act, 1846

House of Commons Costs Taxation Act, 1847.

House of Lords Costs Taxation Act, 1849.

Parliamentary Costs Act, 1865.

Part of all these Acts will be adapted in the Bill.

Leave given to introduce Bill.

Bill read a First Time.