I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether it is true that, at a recent Licensing Court for the 1395 Airdrie District of Lanarkshire, Sheriff-Substitute Mair acted as Chairman, and, in the case of an equal vote for and against granting a new public house licence at Swinton, gave his casting vote in favour of its grant; whether it is true that, when the new certificate came before the Licensing Committee on the 2nd instant for confirmation, Sheriff Mair was present, and spoke in support of the application; whether Sheriff Mair is a member of the Licensing Committee of the district; and whether it is customary for Sheriffs, or Sheriff-Substitutes, to sit as Judges ex officio in Licensing Courts in Scotlad, or to interfere at confirming Courts?
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
It is the case that Sheriff-Substitute Mair was Chairman of a recent Licensing Court at Airdrie, having been voted to take the chair by the other Justices. He gave a deliberative, and not a casting vote on the question of the licence at Swinton. It is not the case that Sheriff Mair spoke in support of the application before the Licensing Committee, but merely corrected an erroneous statement that was made of what took place before the Court of which he was Chairman. There is, so far as I am aware, no doubt that Sheriffs and Sheriff-Substitutes are entitled to sit in these Courts; and I am informed that, though it may not be the universal practice, it frequently happens that these officials do sit in the Licensing Courts.