§ MR. JOHNSON-FERGUSON (Leicester)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his attention has been drawn to the difference in the fees charged by Benches of Magistrates for certificates of exemption under the Vaccination Act, 1898, and to the fact that in some districts the Magistrates have put the applicants to additional expense by insisting on the production of a certificate of birth of each child in respect of whom a certificate of exemption is applied for; and, whether he will take steps to secure uniformity of action and the granting of the certificates of exemption at the least possible expense to the applicant?
§ THE HOME SECRETARY
I am aware that the fees charged for certificates of exemption under the Vaccination Act, 1898, vary in different places. The reason is that these fees are not fixed specifically for vaccination cases but follow the charges for certificates of all kinds settled in general tables of Court Fees. These tables are prepared by various local authorities and sent to the Secretary of State for approval; and I have no power to enforce absolute uniformity, though in the Model Table of Fees drawn up in my office for the guidance of the local authorities I have inserted a small inclusive charge for the certificates in question. I may add that some local authorities have applied to me for sanction to a reduction of fees fixed in former times, and that I have in every case complied with their request. It is, I believe, the case that some Magistrates require applicants to produce the birth certificates of their children; and I am advised that this action is within their discretion.