§ Mr. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Judge Advocate General has power to nominate a qualified person to confirm the findings and sentences of general courts martial in South Africa, including sentences of death and penal servitude for not less than five years, and to advise the military authorities upon important questions of law; whether a barrister of less than three years standing is to be appointed to discharge these important duties, or which of them, in South Africa, and at what remuneration: and whether findings of courts martial and sentences upon persons other than soldiers in Her Majesty's service in South Africa will be finally dealt with by anyone so nominated or appointed, and whether with or without right of appeal.
MR. MELLOR (Yorkshire, W.R., Sowerby)
A t the same time may I ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether it is intended to send the Deputy Judge Advocate General to the forces in South Africa to advise the confirming officer with regard to the confirmation or not of the findings of general courts martial, and the military authorities with regard to the important questions of law arising, especially as there can be no appeal.
§ The FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (MR. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The power to nominate a qualified person to confirm the findings and sentences of general courts martial in South Africa is not included in the functions discharged by the Judge Advocate General. The confirmation of the findings and sentences by military courts is regulated by Section 54 of the Army Act. The Judge Advocate General has the power to delegate qualified persons to represent him in South Africa. Although such persons would not have the power 309 to confirm the findings and sentences of general courts martial, they would be entitled to advise the military authorities on questions of law, to withhold confirmation on the ground of illegality, and generally to advise them on questions of law concerning the legality of the findings of courts martial. A barrister of less than three years standing is not to be appointed to discharge those duties. Colonel Sinclair, of the War Office, received a formal deputation to perform those duties, and he is now performing them in South Africa, aided by Lord Basil Blackwood, who is a barrister of more than three years standing. Military law and courts martial only apply to soldiers in Her Majesty's service or persons accompanying the troops holding passes. Civilians as a general rule do not come under the ordinary military law or the jurisdiction of ordinary courts martial.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
As the Judge Advocate General is at present, under the new arrangement, a member of the High Court of Justice, to whom is he responsible for these appointments?