HC Deb 08 October 1924 vol 177 cc507-8

asked the Attorney-General the number of magistrates for the county of Berkshire other than borough magistrates; how many of them are women; why there has been failure to appoint any women to the Bench since the present Government came into office; and why there should be such a wide difference between the number of men and women on the Bench in this county?

The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Sir Patrick Hastings)

The number of magistrates on the Commission of the Peace for Berkshire is 234, including two women. This number, however, includes the names of nine men who were appointed before 1870, and an uncertain number who take little or no part in the work of the Bench. No appointments to the Berkshire Bench have been made since the present Government came into office. The last appointments were made in December, 1923. My right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor is taking steps to review the position of the Berkshire Bench, and will consider the question of appointing additional women magistrates.


Is it because they are conscientious objectors or passive resisters?


May I ask whether the Law Officers of the Crown are prepared to consider an increase of these voluntary Justices of the Peace?


Will the Attorney-General say whether, in making further appointments for the county of Berkshire, the Lord Chancellor will take steps to appoint more women; and does he think it right and proper that only two women should be on the Bench for Berkshire?


That is a question which has been answered. The House seems to have its thoughts elsewhere.