HC Deb 07 December 1926 vol 200 cc1898-9
48. Mr. W. BAKER

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the circuit allowances and expenses of the Judges of the King's Bench Division, Commissioners of Assize, and their clerks amount to approximately £22,000 per annum; and whether lie will consider whether economies and greater expedition can be secured by a change of method?

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Douglas Hogg)

I have been asked to reply. The question whether economy and greater expedition can be secured by a modification of the circuit system has been considered on more than one occasion during recent years. By Section I of the Administration of Justice Act, 1925, machinery is provided whereby it becomes unnecessary to hold an Assize at any place on a circuit if it appears that there is no business, or no substantial amount of business, to be transacted at the Assizes about to be held at that place, and it is hoped that some economy may result.


In the interest of economy, does not the right hon. Gentleman think the time has come when the marshal of the judges, which serves no purpose, might usefully he abolished?


I do not see that that has any reference to the question I was asked, and I do not agree with the suggestion that the marshal of the judges is of no use.


On a point of Order. An objection has been taken by the Attorney-General that this does not arise out of the answer. The question was as regards certain allowances. I submit that I am perfectly in order in putting the question whether at present the judges marshal is not an unnecessary expense and ought to be abolished.


The hon. Member put his question, and received the answer.


Cannot some further steps be taken to reorganise, on lines such as those suggested by the Swift Committee, the existing circuit system?


I am always glad to pass on suggestions to those whose duty it is to consider them. I have not heard of any practical suggestion for the re-organisation of the circuit system, but we did devise certain alterations last year which I hope will result in economies.


Will consideration be given to the recommendations that were made with regard to the Welsh circuit system?


This is becoming a debate. The question had better be put down on the Paper.

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