HC Deb 19 March 1934 vol 287 cc864-5

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that in England and Wales it is held that Sub-section (1) of Section 2 of the Cinematograph Act of 1909 empowers local licensing authorities to attach to cinema licences conditions as to the films which may be exhibited and as to the admission of children in certain cases, whereas in Scotland it is held that this Sub-section confers no such powers; and whether he will take steps to secure that there shall be uniform interpretation and administration of the same enactment throughout Great Britain?


I understand that in England and Wales the position is as stated in the first part of the question. The matter has not been the subject of judicial decision in Scotland, but my predecessors and I have been advised that it is unlikely that the Scottish courts would hold it competent to attach to cinema licences such conditions as are referred to in the question. As regards the last part of the question, in Scotland the interpretation of the law lies with the Scottish courts, and the administration of the licensing system rests with the Scottish licensing authorities under the Act of 1909. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular recently issued by my Department, which shows the steps which I have taken in the matter.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that it is satisfactory that the same Act of Parliament should be interpreted differently in Scotland from what it is in England and Wales in this matter?


Oh, yes, Sir. We always observe the right in Scotland to interpret the law in the light of Scottish knowledge and experience.