§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether his attention has been drawn to a wages case heard before Mr. Hannay, at Marlborough Street Police Court, on October 31, where the employer claimed to deduct fines from the wages of a person employed, and Mr. Hannay decided distinctly that there was nothing illegal in fines; whether, in view of the 1 & 2 Will. IV., c. 37, s. 3, the magistrate was right in so deciding; and, whether the Government will direct the Inspector of Factories for the district to take action in the matter?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
, in reply, said, he was informed by Mr. Hannay that the trade in which the young person was employed was not within the Truck Act. No decision had been given by Mr. Hannay in respect to fines generally; and, of course, it must depend upon the particular circumstances whether they were illegal or not. He believed that in this instance there was no case for the intervention of the Inspector of Factories.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
asked, whether the magistrate had not been misled by the old Act, and had not paid attention to the section in the Act carried by him (Mr. Bradlaugh), extending the operation of the Act to every employment?
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
said, it was only possible for him to deal with the information given him by the magistrate before whom the summons was taken out; but with regard to fines, it was a difficult question of law in each case as to the circumstances under which fines were deducted. If, as a matter of fact, the fines were simply a method of ascertaining the actual wages earned by the workmen, there was no breach of the Truck Act; but if there were deduction from wages it might be a breach of the Act.