HC Deb 03 November 1902 vol 113 cc1395-6
MR. BELL (Derby)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he is aware that Dr. Frederick Morrison, the Medical Referee for the Hartlepool County Court Circuit, appointed by the Home Office under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1897, appeared as a medical witness for the respondent employers in a case under the Act entitled Peart v. Furness, Withy & Co., and in two similar cases tried at the West Hartlepool County Court, on 17th October; that, in consequence of Dr. Morrison so appearing, the Judge sitting as Arbitrator had to call in another medical practitioner as medical referee; and will he say whether it is in accordance with the rules under the Act for a medical referee so to act; and, if so, will he take steps to amend such rules so as to avoid a repetition of such a state of things, and, if it is not in accordance with the rules, will he take steps to remove the name of Dr. Morrison from the list of medical referees.


The conditions on which a Medical Referee holds his appointment under the Workmen's Compensation Act preclude his holding any appointment from an employer or body of employers or workmen which would involve attendance on workmen who come within the provisions of the Act. But it must occasionally happen that a referee, in the course of his ordinary practice, attends a case in which a claim under the Act afterwards arises; and when that happens the rule is that he must not act as referee in that case, but that another referee must be called in. I understand that this is what occurred in the cases mentioned in the hon. Member's Question, and I am assured by the Judge that Dr, Morrison acted with perfect independence and integrity.