HC Deb 17 May 1900 vol 83 cc418-9
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the answers given by him on 9th April, 1897, and on the 4th August, 1899, relative to the retirement of clerks in the Probate and other law offices, he can now state the nature of the regulations alluded to as then under consideration dealing with the grievances in question; whether he is aware that there are four clerks with over twenty-one years service, and others with between eleven and sixteen years service, who are in the same class as when they entered the office, and at their maximum salaries, the average time in the third class being upwards of twenty years; whether clerks remain till they are over seventy years of age, and why the rules for their compulsory retirement at sixty-five, recommended by the Ridley Commission, are not carried out; and whether the Presi- Refer to The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. xlviii., page 862; and Vol. lxxv., page 1483. dent of the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Court has brought this subject under the notice of the Treasury repeatedly, but without effect; whether he is aware that clerks of over twenty years service are still serving on the salary of £200 per annum owing to the non-retirement of old men; whether he can state how many clerks have attained sixty-five years at the present time; and whether the attention of the Lord Chancellor has been called to the present deadlock in the way of promotion of this class of public servants.


The Order in Council of 15th August, 1890, does not apply to the clerks of the Supreme Court, and the Treasury is therefore powerless to enforce retirement under the conditions which universally apply to the whole of the Civil Service. This retirement could only be enforced by an Order made by the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, and the Master of the Rolls, and hitherto these Judges have not, I understand, felt the necessity of making such an Order. I have not been able to get precise information from the proper authorities as to paragraph 2, but I understand that the facts are nearly as stated. Some clerks do remain until over seventy years of age. In his own Department, Sir F. Jeune is, I understand, making a rule preventing this; but, of course, neither he nor the Treasury can enforce any rule affecting all the legal Departments. The answer to paragraph 4 is in the affirmative. Clerks of over seventy years service are still serving on the lower salary. I have not yet received a reply to paragraph 5, but a Return shall be obtained. The Lord Chancellor is, I am informed, fully aware of all the facts of the case.