§ MR. A. C. MORTON (Peterborough)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether ho is aware that the Clerk of the Peace for Durham charges newly-appointed Justices a fee of £5s. on being sworn; whether there is any legal charge whatever; and whether he will inquire into the matter? At the same time, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been called to the fees charged upon newly-appointed Justices by the Clerk of the Peace for Shropshire on their taking the oaths of office; whether it is correct that a fee of £5 as is charged; whether any legal charge whatever can be made; and, if so, how much; and whether he will inquire into the matter?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I am informed by the Clerk of the Peace for Durham that no fees are charged, but it has been the practice for a great number of years for the Clerk of the Peace to receive an honorarium from each Justice sworn in at Quarter Sessions—£5 5s. for County Justices, and £2 2s. for Borough Justices. It does not appear to be suggested that the fee can be recovered at law from any Justice who declines to pay it. I may, at the same time, give a similar answer to the question relating to the case of Shropshire.
§ MR. A. C. MORTON
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 392 whether his attention has been called to the fees charged in Lancashire by Clerks of the Peace upon the newly-appointed Justices, whether the fees vary from £6 6s. to £10 10s., in the latter case including luncheon and entrance fees; whether there is any legal charge whatever; and whether ho will inquire into the matter?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER (Mr. BRYCE, Aberdeen, S.)
I am informed that the fee charged in Lancaster to a newly appointed Justice is £1 1s., and that this sum is paid over by the Clerk of the Peace to the County Treasurer and carrried to the credit of the County Fund. The fee is charged under a scale of fees approved by the Court of Annual General Session in April, 1862, and certified by the then Home Secretary in pursuance of the Statute 11 & 12 Vict., c. 43, s. 30. There is also a fee paid on the issuing and execution of the writ of dedimus potestatem. This writ can be issued either in person or by any solicitor on behalf of the person appointed. When the Clerk of the Peace has been asked to take it out the charges have been £3 8s. 6d. in fees to the cursitor of the Chancery Court and the Sealkeeper, and £1 16s. for the professional charges of the Clerk of the Peace. It is only in a small number of cases that this writ has of late years been taken out by the Clerk of the Peace. There is a luncheon club at Preston, with an entrance fee of two guineas, and an annual subscription of one guinea, but membership of this club is entirely optional, and the Clerk of the Peace, who is hon. Treasurer, has no interest in the sums paid to it.
§ MR. CAINE (Bradford, E.)
Are they statutory charges, and can they be recovered in a Court of Justice?