HC Deb 28 February 1917 vol 90 c2024
45. Mr. WATT

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the small number of cases of appeal which take place in Scotland from sheriffs substitute to sheriffs principal in all sheriffdoms outside the populous areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh and of the high salaries which are paid to these sheriffs principal; and, if so, will he take the opportunity of the War to introduce legislation abolishing these sheriff principalships outside the populous areas in view of the facts that in some instances only two cases annually are being appealed to the principals?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. My hon. and learned Friend appears to be under a misapprehension as to the nature and extent of the duties devolving upon sheriffs in Scotland, which are by no means confined to the function of hearing appeals from their substitutes. In addition, the sheriffs act as judges of first instance in both civil and criminal cases. They are responsible for law and order in their sheriffdom, and they also perform a variety of important administrative duties, including, at the present time, the duty of presiding over the Appeal Tribunals under the Military Service Acts, in which capacity they have given, and are giving, most valuable service. I am not prepared to introduce legislation on the lines suggested.


Are not the sheriffs paid for these duties in connection with the tribunals themselves, and does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the country gets value for its money in view of the large sums paid to these sheriffs?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative and to the second part in the affirmative.