HC Deb 01 August 1912 vol 41 cc2232-3

asked the Chief Secretary whether heretofore in Ireland clerks of Poor Law guardians were excluded from the office of justice of the peace; whether the present Lord Chancellor has frequently expressed his determination to adhere to this rule; what is the" reason for this practice; whether any candidates for the Commission concealed the circumstance of their being union clerks from both the Lord Lieutenant of the county and the Lord Chancellor; whether he can state the number of persons who have so imposed upon the Lord Chancellor since he came into office; and what steps he proposes to take in reference to them?


The Lord Chancellor informs me that the usual practice has been not to appoint clerks of union to the magistracy, but there have been cases in which they were appointed. The practice is based on the view that the duties of a magistrate may interfere with the proper discharge of the duties of a clerk of union, and it is also considered undesirable, that the chairman of the board, usually a magistrate, and an official of the board should act as justices on the same bench. There has been only a single case of the kind since the present Lord Chancellor came into office. At the time of the appointment the Lord Chancellor had no knowledge of the fact that the candidate was a clerk of a union. Some time after the appointment the Lord Chancellor was apprised of the fact, and, having made full inquiries, he has finally concluded that he cannot hold that the candidate had any intention to deceive either the Lord Chancellor or the Lieutenant of the County, although he did not state that he was a clerk of a union.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Lord Chancellor had not previously refused to appoint this very person?


That I do not know.