HC Deb 27 June 1889 vol 337 c888

I beg to ask the Secretary-to the Treasury whether the arrangements for re-organizing the Department of the Solicitor to the Treasury, set forth in the Treasury Minute, of 20th December last, include the whole of the Establishments for the Department of Criminal Prosecutions; whether any of the three Assistant Solicitors are stationed in the provinces for the purpose of Criminal Prosecutions, or whether there are any other Government officers so employed, or whether a private solicitor is employed in each case; and, whether in any other large Department of the State the plan has been adopted by making an allowance to the head of the Department to appoint and pay his own subordinates at his personal discretion?


The answer to the first question is, Yes. As regards the second, the three Assistant Solicitors are permanently attached to the office of the Treasury in London; but they, in common with the other officers of the Department, are liable, in the case of prosecutions of exceptional importance, to attend at Assizes. No Government officers are stationed in the provinces; but the solicitor engages such local solicitor as he considers competent to conduct each case as it arises. The plan of making an allowance to the head of a public Department out of which he pays a staff of subordinates, employed by himself, has been tried in the Department of the Chief Official Receiver in Bankruptcy, and in that of the Solicitor to the Board of Trade. A Departmental Committee is at present inquiring whether, and subject to what conditions, a similar system can be introduced in the Departments of the Solicitors of all the great public Departments. The hon. Member, of course, understands that the sum allowed is a maximum which must in no case be exceeded; and that if the entire sum is not actually expended in any year the surplus is retained in the Exchequer, and affords no emolument to the head of the Department.


I beg to give notice that on the Estimates I will call attention to the very unsatisfactory position in which this question stands.