HC Deb 11 May 1891 vol 353 cc481-2
MR. LENG (Dundee)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the Licensing Court for the Burgh of Montrose having been fixed, and publicly notified, for 11 o'clock on the 14th of April last, the Licensing Magistrates, without any public notice, and with private notice only to the applicants for licences, changed the hour to 10 o'clock, and afterwards held the Court at that hour; whether he has been informed that an owner and occupant of property near to two houses for which licences were sought, who had lodged signed objections with the Clerk of the Court, and served copies of the same on the applicants, by registered letters, five days before the advertised time of hold-the Court, received no intimation of the change of hour, and the Court was held in his absence and that of his law agent; whether, in the circumstances, the licences granted, renewed, or transferred at the Court in question are valid; and whether the objectors have any appeal or other redress?

THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Sir C. PEARSON,) Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities

The Lord Advocate is informed that the facts stated in the first two paragraphs of this question are substantially correct. According to the information received, three Petitions were lodged with the Clerk objecting to certain licences, and I assume that the petitioners had the necessary locus standi. In one of these cases the licence was refused. In the other two cases the Petitions were marked as copies, and most of the signatures appeared to be in the same handwriting. The Clerk of Court seems to have been misled by the appearance of the Papers thus given in, and to have inadvertently treated them as informal, and the petitioners were thus deprived of their opportunity of being heard. The appeal provisions of the Statute do not appear to meet such a case, and I am not aware of any mode of testing the validity of the licences except, possibly, by action in the Supreme Court. On the abstract question of their validity, I am not disposed to express any opinion.