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TILE MINISTER OF .JUSTICE INTER. VIEWED. A deputation representing the Council of the Law Society, and consisting of Messrs J. B. Callan (president) and J. Macgregor (iion, secretary), waited on the Hon. Mr Fi i jus this morning n: the proposed alterations and rearrangement of the L-xw Courts. They were introduced by Mr Allen, M. IJ.R. Mr Callan, who acted us spokesman, explained that the Law Society wished to have seme definite information as to the proposed a't-iTuions. Atpresmt they knew nothing (.Miei.illy of the intentions of Government. The MINIsTKK Foil dI'STiCK: Of c iiusc \ou know that lust session the House voted a nun of money for the erection of police quarters and a Police Court. The present Maeiaggan street station is wholly unsuitable. There are tremendous complaints about it, and for its (ccupation we have to pay a very large sum per annum for rents and tixes ; besides which two clerical stall's have to he maintained—staffs for the Police and Resident Magistrate's Courts. I got plans prepared for a building on that site now occupied by the gaol, but a diiliculty arose with the legal profession, who took exception to the noise Mr Callax : We were led to believe that it was intended to put the Supreme Court there.

Tha MisisTKK l'on Justice : That is a long time off, 1 think. It would be much more convenient if the police were moved out of Maeiaggan street, and we could then get rid of a very large expenditure which is going on annually. It is a most abominable pl.-ice for a court-house, I confess. I have lirtd pirns prepared for a police station and lock-up alongside the gaol, and I ha»-c had alterations made iu the Supreme Court building so as to provide accommodation for a Police Court. I will show you what has be n done.

The plans were then explained to the deputation. It was explained that the atmospheric and acoustic properties of the Supreme Court-house would be greatly improved. The court room (the old Provincial Council Chamber) was by far the largest court room in the colony, and it would bo reduced from 70ft to 50ft, the space cut off being required for the Deputy-Registrar's ollice, the entrance to which would be from Water street The quarters now occupied by the Deputy-Registrar, facing Bond street, would be converted into a Police Court, and this would enable the whole staff of the Police and Resident Magistrate's Courts to be together. That, it was claimed, would be a convenience alike to the profession and the public, and also was in the direction of economy. The Government Engineer (Mr Bell) added that the Supreme Court, when the alterations were completed, would be 50ft long (the same as the other Supreme Courts in the colony), and would provide the same accommodation for the public. If the public had not sufficient accommodation a gallery could be erected, as was the case in Wellington. Instead of the Deputy-Registrar and the strong room being separated from the Registrar, their quarters and the storage of documents would now be together, a decided convenience.

Mr Callan understood that it was contemplated to piace the Police Court directly under the Supreme Court. The matter had been tested the other day, and it was found that a person reading in an ordinary tone of voice could be heard quite distinctly above. Could that be remedied ?

The Hon. Mr FiSROVS replied that it was a simple matter to deafen the ceiling with lime and cinders. The point was this: When the alterations were made the Supreme Court room would beas large almost as any other in the co!ony, and would give as much accommodation to the public. The ventilation would be improved considerably, and so would the acoustic properties Thos." were the main points. He had explained the matter to Mr Justice Williams in Wellington, and His Honor had expressed a wish that the Law Society and the Registrar should be consulted. He had now seen representatives from the Law Society, and would get the Registrar's opinion in the course of the day. He now invited some expression of opinion from the Law Society's representatives. Mr : So far as we are concerned, our functions aro simply to ascertain the nature of the proposed changes, and to report to the Council of the Law Society ; so that our opinions would be really of no use, as they would simply be our own personal ideas. We are very much obliged t3 you, and will report to the Law Society, who probably meet this afternoon, The Hon. Mr Few:us said the deputation might take the plans with them and place them bsfore the Law Society. The deputation saw no objection now ? Mr MACfiKEf.oK: No. Mr Caixax : None whatever, provided the liability to any noise is done away ftith, and the ventilation and acoustic properties improved. The Hon. Mr FuHfiU.s: They are very bad, and must be attended to anyhow. Mr Maccrkaob : Personally I think they arc very excellent arrangements. It is making "the very best of a botch of a building. The [ion. Mr Fergus : That is the point. We have not got money now to build a Supreme Court or to interfere with the gaol. Judge Williams complains bitterly about the ventilation and also about the acoustic propertiep.—(MrCALLAN : Both are wretched.) We have succeeded in meeting that difficulty, and will give you quite as much accommodation as you have at the present time. The deputation then withdrew.

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THE LAW COURTS., Issue 7925, 5 June 1889

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THE LAW COURTS. Issue 7925, 5 June 1889

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