HC Deb 11 April 1940 vol 359 cc679-80
10. Mr. James Hall

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that an appeal by Mr. P. Shriebman, of 61, Brick Lane, E.1, was dealt with by the hardship court in his absence while suffering from influenza, and that he was also refused permission to appeal to the umpire; and will he give instructions that hardship courts should not decide cases while the applicant is prevented from attendance through illness, and the reason of such absence is authenticated by the production of a medical certificate?

Mr. E. Brown

It is the practice of Military Service (Hardship) Committees to defer the hearing of cases in which the absence of the applicant is authenticated by medical evidence, unless a duly authorised representative appears in his case. I understand that in Mr. Shriebman's absence his sister, Mrs. Gold, appeared and informed the committee that she had been authorised by him to represent him and have the case disposed of that day. The committee accordingly proceeded with the case and after considering the written application of Mr. Shriebman and the oral evidence of his sister, unanimously refused the application for postponement as they were not satisfied that exceptional hardship would ensue; they did not give leave to appeal to the umpire.

Mr. Hall

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that in such cases as that to which I have drawn his attention an applicant shall have the opportunity of personal representation on every occasion?

Mr. Brown


13. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour under what authority and by whom, instructions have been issued to hardship tribunals, under the Military Service Act, that in no circumstances is postponement to be granted for periods exceeding, in the aggregate, 12 months?

Mr. Brown

The Armed Forces (Postponement Certificates) Regulations, 1939, provide that no certificate granted on the ground of business responsibilities and interests should be allowed to remain in force for longer than 12 months in all.

Mr. Griffiths

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it just and fair to limit the tribunals in cases where they think that a further postponement beyond 12 months is justified?

Mr. Brown

I have no evidence of that at the moment, but the House will agree with me that, seeing we have to hold the balance between the interests of the Armed Forces on the one hand and hardship to the applicants on the other, a period of 12 months to make arrangements is not ungenerous.

Mr. T. Williams

Does that apply to skilled agricultural workers?

Mr. Brown

It is a question of businesses.

22. Sir Arnold Gridley

asked the Minister of Labour whether, having regard to the large number of representations which Members of this House have received, he will now take steps to remove the restriction which prohibits applicants before hardship tribunals being represented by lawyers or barristers?

Mr. Brown

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. J. Morgan) on 18th January, a copy of which I am sending him.