HC Deb 09 April 1886 vol 304 c1171
MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorgan, Rhondda)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, in view of the fact that a few only of the litigants in the Courts of Justice in Wales are conversant with the English language, and of the charges of perjury made by Judges Cox and Lloyd, against the Welsh people, he will provide, by Legislation or otherwise, that, in all future appointments of Stipendiary Magistrates and County Court Judges, it shall be an essential condition that the persons appointed shall be thoroughly conversant with the Welsh language; and, that no person shall be allowed to act as Welsh interpreter at any Court of Justice in the Principality who has not passed an examination to test his proficiency in the English and Welsh languages, and received a licence to practise as interpreter?


I must remind my hon. Friend that I have no control over County Court Judges, and I have no cognizance of the charges of perjury referred to. I can only say with regard to Stipendiary Magistrates, the appointment of whom rests with the Secretary of State, that in the case of Welsh-speaking districts we think it very important that the gentlemen appointed shall have sufficient acquaintance with the Welsh language. I am not aware that any complaint has been made to the Home Office that the language is not sufficiently understood by these magistrates. The same care is also, I am informed, exercised by Lords Chancellors in the appointment of County Court Judges, and I do not think that any special legislation is necessary to secure this object. With regard to interpreters, it may be presumed that the Judges in the various Courts see that they are properly qualified for their duties. If any case of inefficiency is brought to my notice I will direct inquiry to be made, so far as Stipendiary Courts are concerned.