HC Deb 26 February 1936 vol 309 cc453-4
62. Captain SHAW

asked the Lord Advocate whether he will consider review- ing the question of the strength of the bench in the Court of Session, having regard to the decline of the work of the Court in Edinburgh; and whether, in the event of future vacancies on the bench, regard will be had to possible economies similar to those which have been effected by the amalgamation of sheriffdoms in different counties?

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. T. M. Cooper)

The constitution of the Court of Session is regulated by statute, and no alteration in the number of judges could be effected without legislation. The Royal Commission on the Court of Session reported in 1927 against any reduction in the number of judges, and the Administration of Justice (Scotland) Act, 1933, was passed into law with certain provisions for the amalgamation of sheriffdoms but with no provision for a reduction in the number of judges. The reforms in procedure introduced by that Act and by the new Rules of Court are now being brought into full operation, and it is my considered opinion that any economy which might be effected by a reduction in the number of judges could only be secured at the cost of the impaired efficiency of the judicial machinery of Scotland and of material detriment to the public interest.

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