HC Deb 06 April 1937 vol 322 cc9-10
16. Mr. R. Gibson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that, whereas the services of shorthand writers in the High Courts of Justice in England are paid for by the State and not by litigants, similar services by shorthand writers in the Court of Session are paid for by litigants and not by the State; and whether he will make a statement as to what steps he proposes to take in order to remove this injustice to Scottish litigants?

The Lord Advocate (Mr. T. M. Cooper)

I understand that in pursuance of a recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Despatch of Business at Common Law arrangements will shortly be made experimentally whereby a shorthand note of witness actions in the High Court will be taken at public expense; but except in necessitous cases transcripts will only be provided at the expense of parties. These arrangements are proposed with a view to avoiding congestion of business in the High Court. The conditions in the Court of Session are not identical with those obtaining in the High Court; and pending experience of the proposed change in the High Court it is not proposed to make a corresponding alteration of Court of Session practice.

Mr. Gibson

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that in the report to which he has made reference, the note referred to there should be made entirely a charge against the State, and as the notes of evidence and summing up and the judgment are a very material expense, why should not the corresponding expense in the Court of Session be made a public charge?

The Lord Advocate

My right hon. Friend and I will go further into this matter in the light of the experience gained in the High Court, but further than that I cannot go.

Mr. Gibson

I am obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

Mr. Stephen

Is the Lord Advocate aware that shorthand writers in the Sheriff Court are employed by private firms, and will he consider whether these shorthand writers should not be State servants?

The Lord Advocate

That, Sir, is one of the questions which will have to be gone into.

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