HC Deb 20 July 1914 vol 65 cc155-7

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(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other general or local Act to the contrary, the salaries of clerks to justices shall be fixed and may from time to time be varied—

  1. (a) in the case of a clerk to borough justices, by the justices of the borough; and
  2. (b) in the case of a clerk to county justices, by the standing joint committee of the county:

Provided that—

  1. (i) in the case of the salary of a clerk to borough justices, the council of the borough or the clerk; and
  2. (ii) in the case of the salary of a clerk to county justices, the county justices for whom the clerk acts or the clerk,
may appeal to the Secretary of State against the decision of the justices or standing joint committee, as the case may be, and the amount of the salary shall thereupon be determined by the Secretary of State.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "or local" ["general or local Act"].

The real reason for this Amendment is that generally there is one payment which constitutes the remuneration of the clerk and covers the payment of assistants, typists, and so forth. While they do not want to do away with the appeal to the Home Secretary in the matter of the remuneration of the clerk properly so called, many municipalities think that the Home Secretary ought not to be troubled with, and that they ought not to be subject to an appeal in the case of every typist who might be added or reduced, as the case may be. Possibly the Amendment goes too far, as it may take away the appeal of the clerk himself in regard to his own salary. If that is the view of the Home Secretary I shall not press the Amendment. In that case I hope he will give me some sort of understanding that if the object, with which he probably agrees, can be achieved in any way, he will be willing to co-operate.


Certainly. I entirely agree with the observations of the hon. Gentleman. The Amendment would go too far. On the other hand, we have no desire to acquire an appeal in the case of typists and minor employés. The provision is intended to apply to the clerk.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. DENNISS rose to move at the end of the Clause to add, as anew Sub-section, (7) No legal proceedings shall hereafter be commenced against any clerk to the justices of any county or borough for anything said or done by him in open Court in his capacity as such clerk as aforesaid without the fiat of the Attorney-General first obtained for the prosecution of such proceedings.

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, justices themselves are protected for anything said or done by them in open Court, but the justices' clerk is not. He is very often subjected to civil proceedings of a very harassing nature, and their is no fund out of which he can be reimbursed, whether successful or unsuccessful. The justices' clerk is the adviser of the justices. He is their guide, and on many occasions their mouthpiece. He examines and cross-examines witnesses; he conducts a large number of the cases; he has to advise the magistrates as to the evidence and as to the sentence; he has to make observations to witnesses and prisoners, with the result that sometimes proceedings are taken against him. It seems to me e debito justitœ if the justices themselves are protected, the justices' clerk, as their mouthpiece, ought also to be protected.


I am afraid that this proposal cannot come on this Clause. The Clause deals only with the appointment and remuneration of justices' clerks, and the Amendment deals with a different subject altogether.