HC Deb 05 November 1908 vol 195 cc1376-7

TO ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is prepared to take steps to amend the statutory rules and orders for the administration of the Workmen's Compensation Act, in order to enable the duly authorised secretary of a registered trade union to act on behalf of a bana fide member of his union, or a dependant thereof, in any application made for or against his benefit under the Workmen's Compensation Act before a County Court Judge, or an official arbitrator, or an arbitration committee administering the said Act.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) As regards representation of the injured workman, it is already provided, by Rule 33 of the Workmen's Compensation Rules, 1907, that a party to an arbitration may be represented, with leave of the judge or arbitrator, by any officer or member of any society or other body or persons of which such party is a member or with which he is connected. As regards cases where the dependants of a deceased workman are a party to the arbitration, I am informed by the chairman of the Rules Committee of County Court Judges that he has never heard of any objection having been raised by any judge or arbitrator to the representation of the dependants by an official of a society with which the deceased workman was connected. An amendment of the rule, however, which will expressly authorise such representation of the dependants, will be brought before the Rules Committee. The rules of Court under the Act are made by the Rules Committee of County Court Judges with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, and are not within my jurisdiction. But if the hon. Member will communicate to me any cases that have come to his knowledge in which difficulties have been experienced, I shall be glad to consider them and make any representations necessary to the Lord Chancellor.