§ MR. HOPWOOD
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it be the fact that the Chairman of the Farringdon Board of Guardians acts as justice in deciding charges ordered by himself, present as one of the guardians, to be prosecuted; whether such a proceeding can be justified by the Act 5 and 6 Vic. c. 57, s. 15; whether it is the fact that the clerk to the guardians in some such prosecutions, as for instance for non-vaccination, is allowed by the Bench a fee for attendance as attorney to prosecute; and, whether such allowance is proper?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS,
in reply, said, it was true that in that particular case the justices of the peace, who were, of course, all ex officio Guardians, took considerable interest, happily, in their duties as Guardians. It must not be supposed that any particular justice took any part in any particular prosecution. If, however, any justice had taken a prominent part in any case that came before the Guardians, he would exercise a wise discretion not to sit on the Bench when that case had to be decided. But in this instance he understood that the justice in question had taken no part in the matter when it was before the Board of Guardians. As to the latter part of the Question, he had consulted the President of the Local Government Board, and was informed that it was the duty of the clerk to the Guardians to conduct all prosecutions on behalf of the Board at petty sessions 1639 without payment; that the Board held that that did not extend to prosecutions under the Vaccination Act, which were instituted by and in the name of the vaccination officer; that the justices had power to order the payment of such costs as they might deem reasonable, and that, so far as the law was concerned, there was no reason why that should not extend to the fee of the clerk of the Guardians. But he was bound to say he thought the clerk might perform the duty without fee.