HC Deb 25 February 1904 vol 130 cc987-9
MR. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland, as representing the Lord Chancellor, whether, in view of the fact that the system of competitive examination for the position of clerks in the King's Bench and other Divisions of His Majesty's Courts in Ireland is not in practice, and that recently a retired army officer on pension was appointed to a clerkship without passing any competitive examination, he will say on whose recommendation this officer was appointed, and if he will take steps to secure that in all future appointments a public competitive examination for these positions shall take place.


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. Save where expressly excepted by statute the senior clerkships in the different Divisions of the High Court of Justice in Ireland are filled by competition, and that rule has not been departed from. Recently, however, a clerk in the King's Bench Division was selected for transfer to another Department, and pending his passing the examination for the latter office he was given leave of absence without salary. Thereupon a supernumerary writing clerk, already attached to the King's Bench Division, who appears to be a retired officer of His Majesty's Forces, was, by the President of the Division, acting under one of the Rules of Court, required to discharge temporarily the duties of the absent clerk. This is probably the case referred to. Should the transfer be completed the clerkship thereby rendered vacant in the King's Bench Division will be filled up in the ordinary way by open competition.


Am I to take it, then, that this officer is temporarily employed and will not remain permanently in this position?


He cannot be made permanent until he is qualified by statute.


Who has the power of nomination in this case?


I have answered the Question.