§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the statement in Friday's Standard, that the Common Council, in secret conclave, have agreed to raise the salary of the Common Serjeant to £2,250; whether he approves of the practice of raising the salaries of judges during their term of office; whether he can take any steps to prevent such a Resolution, passed in this clandestine manner, from taking effect; whether he considers the members of the Court of Aldermen and Court of Common Council qualified to appoint to and exercise financial control over the various high judicial offices in their gift; and, whether he can promise to initiate or facilitate legislation with a view to placing the judgeships of the City Courts on a more satisfactory basis?
THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. CHILDERS) (Edinburgh, S.)
I have to inform my hon. Friend that I have no authority to interfere with any financial arrangement which the Common Council may think fit to make with respect to the salary of their judicial officers. The Lord Mayor has been good enough to send me a statement which shows that there was nothing secret or clandestine in the way in which this increase of salary was either recommended or approved of. On the contrary, the recommendation was printed in the summons for the Court sent out to members. The discussion, in so far as it affected the position of a Judge, being of a confidential nature, was carried on with 750 closed doors. Although, as a general rule, additions to the salaries of the Judges during their term of office appear to me open to grave objections, I am aware of several exceptions to this principle, as in the case of County Court Judges and certain Recorders and stipendiary magistrates, whose increases are justified by, for instance, heavy increase of work. It is not for me to express any opinion as to the propriety of the existing law; but when the whole question of Metropolitan Government comes up this particular question of the appointment of judicial officers by elective bodies cannot fail to demand consideration.
§ SIR ROBERT FOWLER (London)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that very recently the salary of the Recorder had been raised by the Court of Common Council?
said, he had no information on the point; but he had expressly used the word Recorder as one of the officers whose salaries had been increased.