§ (1) The Commissioners appointed under this Act (in this Act referred to as the Commissioners) shall have all such powers, rights, and privileges as are vested in the High Court or in any judge thereof, on the occasion of any action, in respect of the following matters:—
- (a) The enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation, or otherwise, and the issue of a commission or a request to examine witnesses abroad; and
- (b) The compelling the production of documents; and
- (c) The punishing persons guilty of contempt;
§ (2) A warrant of committal to prison issued for the purpose of enforcing powers conferred by this Section shall be signed by one or more of the Commissioners, and shall specify the prison to which the offender is to be committed, but shall not authorise the imprisonment of an offender for a period exceeding three months.
§ (3) Any person may appear before the Commissioners by counsel or solicitor if authorised to do so by the Commissioners.
§ (4) The Commissioners may act notwithstanding any vacancy in their number, and three shall be a quorum.
Sir H. DALZIEL
I beg to move, in paragraph (b), after the word "documents," to insert the words " including unofficial communications."
There is some substance, but not a great deal, in this Amendment. The Commission has the power to call for all official documents required. Official documents will cover Cabinet memoranda, telegrams, and communications, and so forth. What I have in my mind as the reason for this Amendment is, as the Secretary of State for India will admit, that there are some- 1933 times communications which pass between this country and the Viceroy, or some of his officials, covering views which are not always included in the official papers of this House. I think these are rather important sometimes as a guide as to what were the real views of the persons taking part in these communications at any particular time. Therefore, I would like to see power given to the Commission to ask for these unofficial documents. Another class of document that I want to be assured they have the power to call for is that of communications from the Red Cross Society to India. I am informed that the British Red Cross Society telegraphed several different offers to India of assistance in Mesopotamia, but they were turned down by the Indian Government every time. That shows laxity or something else, and that ought to be inquired into by the Commission. Therefore, I would like to make it clear that the Commission is to have power to send for documents not necessarily official documents.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Sir J. D. REES
The documents produced must be documents bearing upon some public question connected with this inquiry. This proposal seems to be of an extraordinarily wide and inquisitorial character.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I am certain that the effect of this Amendment would be the exact opposite to that which the right hon. Gentleman intends. The word that stands in the Bill covers all the documents that are in existence. If these words were put in every unofficial document might be burnt to-morrow, and you have no power to prevent it. In the course of the inquiry they might find out all sorts of documents and then call for them to be produced, and the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment would be to limit and not to increase the powers of the Commission.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
There is no doubt whatever that the powers which are given to the Commission, which are the powers of the High Court, extend to calling forth any unofficial documents which are relevant to the inquiry, and I presume that my right hon. Friend asks for nothing further than this.
Sir H. DALZIEL
I had a special reason for obtaining a declaration from 1934 the Government on the subject, and, having done so, I beg to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I beg to move, after (c) to leave out the words " more of the Commissioners," and to insert instead thereof the word " Commissioner."
I do not see why these words "or more of the Commissioners" should be inserted. I do not suppose that there is any particular harm in putting them in, but there is not the least necessity for having these words, and therefore I think they should not be inserted.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will not press this. I think it better to leave the words, as they appear in the Bill.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
If the right hon. Gentleman thinks it better that the words should be in, I have not the least objection.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the words " Provided that where a person summoned to attend abroad for the purposes of a Commission or a request to examine witnesses issued under this Act fails to attend then if such person, when summoned, is employed in service under the British Crown, his failure to attend shall be deemed to amount to contempt of court, and he shall be liable to be dealt with accordingly on his return to British territory."
This Amendment is of more importance than the last. The Bill gives power to take evidence by commission. It is quite obvious that as evidence has to be collected from all parts of the world, this part of the Bill will be put into operation. It is framed so that they would have the same power as is now possessed by a judge of the High Court. The power of a judge of the High Court is, unfortunately, rather circumscribed in this case, because all that he can do under a rather cumbersome process is to give leave to issue a commission to take evidence abroad. But there is no means by which you can compel the attendance of witnesses. The King's writ does not run abroad, and, unfortunately, it happens frequently that when you send out a Commission to take most important evidence the people who are summoned to 1935 attend do not come, and you have no means at all of making them come. In order to get over that the process was devised of issuing letters of request to a foreign country requesting them to authorise the Courts to summon people to attend before the Commission and to enforce their attendance. It is quite obvious that that process at the present time, supposing that the request were to issue in Persia, would be no good at all. There is no Court in existence which could enforce the attendance of the witnesses. You cannot introduce into an English Bill anything to enforce the attendance before such a Commission of foreigners in a foreign land. The only thing you can do, and which I had in my mind when I drafted this Amendment, was to say that if anybody summoned to attend is directly or indirectly in the service of the Crown, either in the Army or Navy, or attached to a Consulate, or is doing Government work in any form, then if lie neglects to attend his neglect should be contempt of court, and when he returns to English land he can then be attached and punished for his contempt. That is the only remedy of which I can think to enforce the attendance of anybody at these most important tribunals set up for the collection of evidence. It is obvious that neither the Commissioners themselves nor any number of them can journey to Mesopotamia and various parts of the world to collect the evidence that is required. Much of the evidence is not available in England because those from whom it could come are employed abroad, and the Amendment which I now suggest is the only remedy of which I can think.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I think that my hon. Friend and I are at one as to what is desired, but if a witness is required his attendance can be enforced under an Order in Council. The case which my hon. Friend wants to meet is a case in foreign territory. If he considers the circumstances, I think that that really means either in the Army in France or, more probably, in Mesopotamia, and that it was specially Mesopotamia which he had in view. In the case of Mesopotamia, we are in military occupation of that part of the country which we hold and the military will see to it that any witness required by the Commission presents himself before it. My hon. and learned Friend's Amendment provides a punishment for an official of the Crown who refuses to attend if ever he 1936 returns to this country, but it would not provide any means of compelling the attendance of anybody who was not an official of the Crown. I do not quite see why you should make a distinction between the two. If the evidence of anyone in Mesopotamia is required we must either take that evidence in Mesopotamia or secure the return of the person here, if the person whose evidence is required can come home.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
Would it meet the point to substitute "British subjects," which would include British subjects who are not in the service of the Crown?
§ Amendment negatived.
Sir H. DALZIEL
I beg to move to leave out Sub-section (3).
Power is given to the Commissioner to give leave to any person to be represented by a solicitor or counsel. Therefore there may be a disposition to leave this discretion in the hands of the Commissioner. It becomes very difficult when certain interests are represented at the Commission for others not to desire to be represented. What I wish to guard against is, that we should have a large number of persons employed in the inquiry who would prolong to an undue extent the proceedings of the Commission. I am afraid that, once we open the door in this way, many people will think that they are entitled to have counsel from day to day, which would only mean the prolongation of the proceedings of the Commission, and it is with the object of preventing that that I move this Amendment.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I think it possible that if the Sub-section were omitted altogether, it might be argued that there was a right for everyone to have counsel, and this would be the exact opposite of what the right hon. Gentleman wants.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
It gives a discretion to the Commission, and I think that 1937 the right hon. Gentleman may be satisfied that they will not desire to have counsel more frequently than is necessary. But they may think it right in the course of their inquiry to grant some particular individual whose actions are questioned the assistance of counsel in presenting his case to them. I have no desire, any more than the right hon. Gentleman, that the proceedings of these Commissions should be prolonged indefinitely by a great array of counsel. I cannot conceive that the Commission will for a moment permit such a thing as that, and I think it would only be in any exceptional case that it would be allowed. I put this to the House, that it should be left to the discretion of the Commission whether anyone should be allowed representation by counsel.
§ Mr. WATT
I think this is a most important Amendment that has been moved by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir H. Dalziel) for the omission of this particular Sub-section, which enables the Commissioners, if they think fit, to allow counsel to appear. The words of the Subsection authorise the Commissioners to allow counsel, and it may be taken as an indication that the Commissioners would in every instance permit counsel to appear before them. The great desideratum in setting up these Commissions is certainly that they shall speedily report. No doubt each man that is accused before the Commission would be entitled to bring counsel, and that being so, the work of the Committee would be extended very much, and the time will be a great deal longer—if this is permitted—before we could get a Report. Every officer who is charged with any incompetence will take care to be represented by the most able counsel he can obtain, and that means a great prolongation of the proceedings. The Secretary of State for India has said that if the Subsection were omitted it would indicate to the Commissioners that every man could have counsel. I think it should be made clear that every man who is charged before these Commissions is not to have the services of counsel. Are we to understand that these bodies will not be able to administer justice if officers brought before them have no counsel? Surely those officers will get justice, whether they are helped or hindered by counsel. I think the right hon. Gentleman should accept the deletion of the Sub- 1938 section, and put in another part of the Bill the instruction that counsel are not to appear.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I hope the Government will not do what I am sure would alter the whole scope and character of the Bill. What we want is a businesslike investigation and Report, but if everybody is to be represented by counsel not only will the proceedings be prolonged but a very great financial burden will he imposed upon a great many persons. I do not know whether the Prime Minister proposes to be represented by counsel; I certainly do not, and I do not think there could be anything more ridiculous than to authorise persons who have been concerned to be represented by the talent at the Bar. That can hardly be conceived, and it would destroy the whole scope of the investigation. Therefore I trust that the Government will not adhere to the Sub-section, but will leave to the Commissioners the protection of any interests they may consider to be affected.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
What I said was that there might be cases, rare cases, where the Commission would desire to allow counsel to appear. I accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. PETO
Before the right hon. Gentleman accepts this Amendment, I should like to point out that there are cases of persons who are intimately concerned in this inquiry, and who cannot possibly attend. I rather hesitate to name them, but, for instance, there is General Townshend. If you took the whole of this Sub-section out, and you do not give representation in those rare and exceptional cases to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, I think you might be doing something which would be a very gross injustice.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
Speaking as a lawyer, though people may suggest that one cannot give an independent opinion on a question of this kind, yet I submit that every criminal in this country is entitled to be represented by an advocate. There are cases which must come before the Commission, involving the reputation and whole future of officers whose conduct is impugned, and is it to be said that they are not to have the ordinary right of every man who is taken before a tribunal of our country, to be represented by an advocate if he so feels inclined? The right hon. Gentleman, if he likes to strengthen the power of the Commissioners, might say 1939 that the Commissioners were only to allow an advocate to appear for anybody whose conduct was impugned under exceptional circumstances, but I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to deny to those whose conduct may be seriously called in question, against whom a report may be seriously called in question, against whom a Report may be issued that would affect their whole future life the right to be represented by counsel. That is the ordinary right of every man in this country. The provision might be strengthened by saying that the person shall not be represented by counsel unless he has obtained the leave of the tribunal before whom his conduct is impugned. That would be hard enough. In ordinary circumstances it is the free right of everybody to be represented before the tribunal. If you you are going to cut that down, I suggest that you are taking away the right, under our system of justice, of every man to be represented by an advocate.
§ Sir W. BEALE
I really do not see that the omission of this Sub-section would make any material difference. The Commissioners would have the right to regulate their own procedure, and I cannot see why, if they thought that a person was not capable, in justice to himself, of presenting his own case with sufficient clearness, they should not have the power to allow him to be represented by counsel. That would not necessarily import all those terrifying consequences referred to by the right hon. Member for Kircaldy (Sir H. Dalziel), of long speeches and attempts by counsel to delay the proceedings. Where the Commission thought it necessary they could allow counsel to appear, just as in a criminal case, where the judge calls upon some junior counsel to represent the prisoner, who was not doing himself justice in the presentation of his case. I think that the prohibition of counsel would be very mischievous. At the same time I think that the Sub-section might be omitted, because it appears to me that the Commissioners have power to regulate their own procedure, and have power, if they think it necessary, to show such representation by counsel as would be useful.
§ Mr. DILLON
I was moved by the passionate appeal of the hon. and learned Gentleman who sits below me (Mr. Hume-Williams), who said it was the inherent 1940 right of every man in this country to be heard by counsel. Has. the hon. and learned Gentleman forgotten the 1,800 prisoners tried last week, not one of whom has been allowed to have counsel? It is very strange how differently men feel when they look at a matter from a different angle of vision. The hon. and learned Member was moved to real passion at the idea of any man accused, while his conduct is being investigated by either of these Commissions, not being able to exercise that right to appear by counsel which is so deeply embedded in the British system of justice. But the hon. and learned Member never thought of the 1,800 men, struggling for their liberty, and who were tried last week without a single one of them having any counsel whatever. I am not making any complaint in this instance, because the Committee are fair-minded men.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I never thought of them, because for a few seconds we had escaped from the Irish question. That is why.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. and learned Member brought the Irish question up. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh"!] Certainly. Why did the hon. Gentleman make a passionate appeal about the right of every man whose conduct is impugned before a tribunal in this country to be represented by counsel?
§ Mr. DILLON
I am not going any further into this matter. I myself, from the point of view of the efficiency of the Commissions, think this Sub-section ought to go out.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am not a lawyer, but I may be allowed to give my opinion upon this Sub-section. I think the position taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Peto) is a very true one. I think it might be necessary in the case of a person whose conduct is impugned that he should be able to instruct counsel to appear for him. I agree with that; but if everybody had the right to instruct counsel to appear, probably the inquiry would go on for many years. I know the great possibilities of members of the Bar—still, they are sometimes somewhat lengthy. I have had opportunities of hearing them in the Committee Rooms upstairs, and I find that not only are counsel lengthy, but if one counsel speaks 1941 at length if there is another counsel in the room he always gets up to put his learned friend right.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Counsel unfortunately have greater powers of expression than the ordinary civilian, and they can take a very long time to express their views, while the ordinary civilian expresses them at very much shorter length. I think it is necessary to limit very strictly the power of calling counsel. I am sure some power is necessary. If this Sub-section is left out perhaps my right hon. Friend the Secretary'of State for India (Mr. Chamberlain) will consider whether he could not on the Report stage introduce a Sub-section which would give power, in certain exceptional circumstances, to allow counsel to appear. I think that is really necessary.
§ Mr. HOLT
It seems to me that matters are getting into a somewhat dangerous position. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India resisted the Amendment on the ground that it produced precisely the opposite effect to that intended by its Mover, and that if this Sub-section were struck out every person would have an inherent right to appear by counsel. Some lawyers say they will, and others say they will not. It is most important that we should lay the point down in black and white, and not leave to subsequent dispute what are the rights of persons with regard to being represented by counsel. If they are not to appear by counsel we had better say so in the Act in plain English, and in no way leave the question subject to doubt. I think the Commission ought to have power in rare cases to allow persons to be represented by counsel. I have had experience of the proceedings in Committees upstairs, and I know perfectly well that some people are not able to express themselves in a manner to do themselves justice. I have never thought it right to deprive anybody of the services of counsel, as it might subject people to considerable injustice. I should like to see the Clause phrased to provide that no person shall appear before the Commission by counsel or solicitor unless authorised. The presumption would be that no person would be allowed to do so without the consent of the Commissioners.
Sir H. DALZIEL
It is so. It is not a question for the Chair, but for the Government. The speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite sought to prove that everyone concerned had the right to appear by counsel. Does he realise to how many people that applies in this case? I was impressed very much by the case of General Townshend, and no doubt prisoners are of some importance at the inquiry, and it is not absolutely certain that their particular views would be represented if left in official hands. Therefore, I would ask the Government to stand to their present position, and I would ask the Secretary for India to consider between, now and Report whether a Sub-section may not be reinserted something like this; "Any person whom the Commissioners are satisfied is unable to be present may appear before the Commission"—and then, the right hon. Gentleman can use his own words. An absent man, a prisoner of State, in enemy country, may have his conduct impugned, and in such a case the Commissioners should have power to give representation. There is also the possibility that they might postpone that part of the inquiry. Probably it would meet the views expressed if the Sub-section were now omitted and the matter considered in the way I suggest.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I was so impressed by the views expressed from all quarters that I agreed to accept the Amendment. I stated that the Government had no strong views on the subject, and that I was perfectly willing to accept the Amendment if that was the general wish. It is our desire in this matter to follow the general wish of the Committee. Personally, I am not, unfortuately, for the moment a lawyer, and perhaps I am not the best person to interpret the exact effect of an Act of Parliament. I doubt whether it makes any difference to retain, or leave out the Section.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I did not draft the Bill and I cannot tell you. I believe the Commissions have power to regulate their own procedure, and that they can be trusted to do so in such a way that, on the one hand, you will not have the abuse of a great array of counsel prolonging the—proceedings indefinitely and turning the 1943 inquiries into lawsuits in which there are countless parties, and, on the other hand, in such a way as to provide fair treatment for an officer in the unhappy position of 'General Townshend, who is a prisoner of war in the enemy's hands, and whose case I am quite sure the Commissioners would not allow in any way to be prejudiced by that fact. I am not quite clear whether instructing counsel in a case like that would be the best way of doing it, but that is not what I have to argue now. If you take the words out I believe that the Commission would inherently have the power, as was pointed out by the hon. and learned Member (Sir W. Beale). That is the way in which I would much prefer to leave the matter, confident in the discretion and good sense of the Commissioners. With regard to this Bill, the Government are very anxious naturally to carry the general consent of the Committee. We do not want to impose our will on Parliament unnecessarily, and we want rather to make the inquiry such as they desire to see it. I do not, therefore, desire to press the one solution or the other on the Committee, and I am perfectly ready to strike the words out in the meantime.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to stick to the Sub-section. This Commission has to take the evidence not only of gallant officers, but has to deal with Persians, Greeks, Turks, Medes, Elamites, Parthians, and dwellers in Mesopotamia, and you may often want evidence from Turkish contractors or Arab chiefs. If the Commission go to Mesopotamia, how is that to be done without any provision for counsel? An Eastern witness requires to be coached in order to let him know what it is all about and so that his evidence may be given in intelligible form. The Clause is so worded that it is perfectly clear that general representation by counsel is not contemplated. The House has confidence in the gentlemen appointed to form the Committee, and the last thing they are likely to do, if they have any saving sense of sanity, is to allow general representation. In the case of Oriental witnesses, it will be necessary to have some sort of representation, in order to get at what the witnesses have to say. I hope they will hear such witnesses, and thus get light thrown on proceedings which they will not get from any other quarter.
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will hold to his original determination to agree to the Amendment. I think the precedent referred to by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) is a very good one, and that the Government will folow in this case the practice adopted by the Advisory Committee with regard to the Irish cases. There is far more reason in this case why this Sub-section should go out. The Irish prisoners were being tried for their freedom, while this is mainly an inquiry into mismanagement and incompetence. As I understand the position, whatever conclusion the Commission may come to, it will not itself be the final Court in cases where charges are found against officers either of the Army or the Navy, and that if such officers are found guilty of military offences its only duty will be not to convict the man and send him to prison or intern him, but to recommend that he should be court-martialled. The right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment was inclined to modify it in the case of General Townshend. We all, of course, sympathise with the position of General Townshend, but I do not believe that such a provision is necessary even in his or any similar case. No words at all are needed, since the Commission has power to regulate its own procedure. The Advisory Committee which dealt with the Irish prisoners had this exact case before them. The prisoners applied to be represented by counsel, but the Committee decided it could not allow it, and if they had done so their labours would probably have been tenfold more laborious. Even in the case of an officer like General Townshend there can be no real inquiry until after the termination of the War. How is counsel to be instructed? Are the legal advisers to go to Constantinople? And if they get in there, how are they going to get out? There must be a court-martial under the King's Regulations upon General Townshend and on all officers who have surrendered when they are released at the end of the War, and that will afford opportunity for investigation into those cases. In any event, on the precedent of the Irish case, we on these benches will resist this Sub-section being retained. We believe that that precedent is a good one and that this Commission can regulate its own procedure.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
With all deference to the right hon. Gentleman I 1945 think it would be desirable to have legal opinion on this matter. I am glad to see that the Solicitor-General has just entered the House, for now we shall know exactly where we are. We are told that these Commissioners have all the powers of the High Court. According to Clause 2 they have those powers with regard to attend—'ance of witnesses, the production of documents and the punishment of persons guilty of contempt. Those are the only powers of the High Court which are conferred upon them. That does not appear to include the right to give anybody leave to appear by counsel. I ask, is that so or not? Some Members do not want to have counsel at all, and the right hon. Gentleman told us that if the Sub-section is struck out the Commissioners would still have the right to allow counsel. I had the honour a few years ago of sitting as a member on the Select Committee in a somewhat similar inquiry into the. Putumayo atrocities, and in that case we gave the accused persons the right to appear by counsel. It is not that everybody is to be represented by counsel. One or two seriously implicated witnesses have a right to appear by counsel, and counsel will be of very great assistance to the Commissioners. The Commissioners are quite able to take care of themselves and not to let counsel rove over other matters or make long speeches. I think when you get a serious matter of this kind you should let anybody incriminated appear by counsel, whether he is present or absent. That is true, in the case of General Townshend, but there is something even more important than that. The Government themselves are implicated. The Prime Minister said he did not desire to be represented by counsel. But it is quite possible that after the Commission has been sitting for a fortnight it may be found that the Government ought to be represented by counsel. Probably the Attorney-General might take the part of counsel, and see that nothing undesirable is done, and generally watch the interests of the Government. In my view, in the interests of the Government themselves there ought to be a right to appear by counsel, and it is perfectly clear that the draftsmen of this particular Bill thought that without this Clause there would not be that right. These Bills are drafted by Government draftsmen, who would not have put in this Clause if they had thought that 1946 without it the right existed, even the restricted right, to appear by counsel. This is a point that requires careful consideration, and I press the Solicitor-General, whom I am glad to see present, to tell us exactly what the law on the matter is.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I think the right, hon. Gentleman has made a great mistake in assenting to the withdrawal of this Sub-section. In my opinion it would, be far better to leave the Sub-section in, and if necessary alter it slightly when the Report stage comes on. I have had some experience of Commissions, and my own view is that counsel materially assist them. A Commission is always glad to know that it has the authority of Parliament to exercise its discretion as regards individual applications for counsel. That,. I take it, is the object of the Clause, and that nobody is to appear by counsel unless that is authorised by the Commission. You may put it in that form if you like. I feel certain that if you leave out the Clause the Commssion will be faced with the question of whether or not they should allow a person to appear by counsel before them. I hope the Government will still, stick to the Clause.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir George Cave)
My hon. Friend ratner appealed tome to give my views on this Sub-section, and I will give him the best opinion I can. It is quite clear to all of us that the normal procedure of Commissions of this kind is that the Commissioners shall themselves, examine the witnesses. The Bill is drawn, on that assumption, because hon. Members will see in Clauses 2 and 4 that the examination of witnesses is distinctly put. in the hands of the Commission. It is plainly the normal procedure that is contemplated. At the same time, I do not feel any doubt myself that if a Royal Commission thinks it desirable that they should be assisted by counsel in the examination of witnesses, it is entirely within their powers to allow that. I think the Commission would have full powers. At the same time, I do rather feel myself that the insertion of a Sub-section of this kind' gives the Commission a clear indication of what their powers are. If they have these powers without the Sub-section, it does not do any harm, while if there is any doubt, and the Committee thinks the power should exist, it is better to put the Sub-section in. My right hon. Friend was willing to withdraw the Sub-section if the 1947 whole Committee desired, but, as there is a difference of opinion, I think it is better to retain the Sub-section to-day, and I shall be glad to discuss the matter with my right hon. Friend between now and the Report stage.
Sir H. DALZIEL
I hope the Solicitor-General will bear in mind what he has just said when we come to the Report stage. I think the general opinion of the Committee is that in exceptional cases it ought to be in the power of the Commission to allow counsel to appear, at the same time we do not want to open the door so that if a solicitor can find a client he will be allowed to appear. It must be remembered that the State will have to bear the expense of all this, which is a very important fact. The State has had to bear the expense in other such cases. In a recent one I remember some Members of this House received about £1,000 because they were engaged as counsel. I think we should be very careful how we open the door to the appearance of counsel. I hope the Solicitor-General will consider this point between now and the Report stage.
§ Sir J. JARDINE
I can approach this question from the judicial point of view, having had a long judicial experience in the Indian High Court, and I am entirely in favour of the Clause as it stands. It merely empowers the Commission to hear counsel or solicitors if they so desire. But it also has this great advantage, that people who are far away, many of them in Mesopotamia or somewhere else, can appear by counsel. In the Indian Courts it is found a great convenience for parties to have solicitors appearing for them in chambers, for instance, when a document has to be produced, because it saves a witness a long journey. Moreover, a counsel appearing and giving an explana-
§ tion may remove a doubt in the Commissioners' minds about the person affected, and may save endless time. I think there are many perfectly good reasons why we should keep this Clause in. It is very desirable that people who are incriminated should have the utmost chance of having their case adequately heard. The Commissioners are not likely to submit to delay or to being bullied by any counsel. My experience is that counsel and solicitors do help in the hearing of cases, and generally save the time of the judge, and I do not doubt that that will be the case here. The Commissioners are not obliged to admit counsel and solicitors in every case; the Clause leaves them full power to do it or not, as they please. I think, with the Solicitor-General, that they ought to be given this indication that they have that power, and that they may exercise it under the authority of Parliament. Altogether I would press for keeping a Clause like this in the Bill that is now before us.
Sir H. DALZIEL
I ask leave to withdraw this Amendment, on the understanding that it will be considered on Report.
§ Mr. LUNDON
I cannot allow this Amendment to be withdrawn, and I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman agreed to its withdrawal. I object to naval officers and Army officers being represented by counsel before these Commissions, when prisoners in connection with recent events in Ireland are not allowed counsel. If one class is to have the assistance of counsel, the other class should have it too. We shall challenge a Division.
§ Question put, "That the words of the Section down to the word 'counsel' stand part of the Question."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 165; Noes, 35.1949
|Division No. 45.]||AYES.||[6.56 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Denniss, E. R. B.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Bird, Alfred||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby N.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Brace, William||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Bridgeman, William Clive||Fell, Arthur|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brunner, John F. L.||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Astor, Hon. Waldorf||Bull, Sir William James||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Galbraith, Samuel|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Gilbert, J. D.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)|
|Beach, William F. H.||Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Craik, Sir Henry||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Haslam, Lewis||Middlebrook, Sir William||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Millar, James Duncan||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Shortt, Edward|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Morgan, George Hay||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Hill, James||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Hodge, John||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Terrell, George (Wilts., N.W.)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Newman, John R. P.||Thomas, J. H.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Nield, Herbert||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Horne, Edgar||Norton-Griffiths, J.||Tickler, T. G.|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Partington, Oswald||Turten, Edmund Russborough|
|Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wardle, George J.|
|Hunt, Major Rowland||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Peto, Basil Edward||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Phillips, Sir Owen (Chester)||Wedgwood, Major Josiah C.|
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Pratt, J. W.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Whiteley, Herbert James|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney)||Prothero, Rowland Edmund||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Pryce-Jones, Colonel Edward||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|King, Joseph||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Worthington Evans, Major L.|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Tyneside)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Rowlands, James||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Rowntree, Arnold||Younger, Sir George|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Malcolm, Ian||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Mr. Gulland and Lord Edmund Talbot|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Meux, Hon. Sir Hedworth|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Hackett, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Boland, John Pius||Joyce, Michael||O'Malley, William|
|Bryce, John Annan||Kelly, Edward||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Cosgrave, James||Kilbride, Denis||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lundon, Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Dillon, John||McGhee, Richard||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Meagher, Michael||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Doris, William||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Duffy, William J.||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|Ffrench, Peter||Molloy, Michael|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)||Mr. Hazleton and Mr. Lynch.|
|Graham, Edward John|
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment," put, and agreed to.
§ Sir R. JARDINE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), after the word "counsel" ["may appear before the Commissioners by counsel or solicitor"], to insert the word "pleader."
In many cases in certain districts in India there are no solicitors and no barristers, and I think the Commissioners ought to have the opportunity, if necessary, of hearing a pleader of the High Court. Whether such a pleader comes within the definition of the word "counsel" is a matter of opinion. But I do not think the matter should be overlooked. If my right hon. Friend will give me his assurance that before the Report Stage he will consider whether the case is covered by the word "counsel," I will be prepared to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Sir C. HENRY
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will now consider whether the quorum of three should not be made four?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Oh, no. I think the Prime Minister undertook to insert further Amendments on the Report stage; at any rate, time will be given to consider Amendments, and the Report stage cannot be taken to-night. As to when it will be taken I cannot say without consultation with the Prime Minister. In regard to the other point raised by the hon. Baronet behind me (Sir C. Henry) it is a matter on which I have no strong view. 1951 When it was proposed that one of the Commissions should consist of five members and the other of six, we thought that the quorum should not be more than three. If the House desires now that the Commissions are enlarged to enlarge the quorum to four, I do not think that there will be any objection on the part of the Government. It may, however, be convenient to keep the quorum to a few members of the Commission. Either or both of them may wish to send some of their members to other parts of the world, being unable to go as a full body. Unless, therefore, the House presses the matter I should be inclined to leave the quorum as it stands.