HC Deb 30 July 1894 vol 27 cc1255-6

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that, in a case tried at Dornoch, in December last, the County Medical Officer and the County Sanitary Inspector of Sutherland-shire, and the County Sanitary Inspector of Ross and Cromarty, and other witnesses, concurred in deponing that the dwelling-house occupied by Angus MacKay, farm servant, at Creich Mains, Sutherlandshire, the property of the Duke of Sutherland, was, in September, 1893, by reason of its proximity to the cattle fold of the farm, and to a cesspool, and on other grounds, unfit for human habitation; whether he is aware that MacKay was obliged to leave the house and sue his employer for his wages; and that Sheriff Substitute Mackenzie decided in his favor and against his employer for his wages, while, on appeal, Sheriff Principal Johnson and the Judges of the Second Division of the Court of Session decided in favor of the employer; and whether he will introduce a measure to protect the interests of farm servants and their families in similar cases?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR,&c.) Clackmannan,

I have seen a newspaper report of the case, and the facts are substantially as stated in the first two paragraphs of the question. The decision of the Court was to the effect that it was not proved that the dwelling house in question was in such an insanitary condition as to render it unfit for habitation, and that consequently Mackay was not justified in leaving it, but in giving judgment the Lord Justice Clerk stated that the case was one involving some difficulty, although a considerable part of the evidence, particularly that of one of the Sanitary Inspectors, was not such as could receive attention. The question of the enforcement of the provisions of the Public Health Acts in Highland counties undoubtedly involves serious difficulties, which are receiving the attention of the Local Authorities and of the Government.