HC Deb 30 May 1881 vol 261 cc1636-7

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a report in the "Irish Times" of the 26th April 1881, of a motion, in three actions brought against Major Fraill, a resident magistrate, for having illegally sentenced three men to imprisonment and hard labour; whether, in the said report, it does not appear that Major Fraill had been a Major in the Army before receiving his appointment as a resident magistrate, and that Mr. Baron Dowse stated he had been once told by a stipendiary magistrate that, as he was not a lawyer he did not know the Law, and did not pretend to know it; whether, in the case of stipendiary magistrates whose duties are to guide and advise the other magistrates, it would not be desirable that members of the legal profession should be appointed stipendiary magistrates, rather than military men or private gentlemen without legal knowledge or training; and, whether all or any of the stipendiary magistrates who have been appointed in Ireland since the present Government came to office are barristers, or have received legal training?


I have seen the report in the newspaper referred to by my hon. and learned Friend, and find it is as stated in his Question. It is the case that of the few resident magistrates appointed by the present Government since their accession to Office none are barristers; but I believe they had all sufficient legal knowledge and experience to qualify them for the office. I must decline to express any opinion on the abstract question as to the desirability of appointing members of the Legal Profession in preference to others.