20. Mr. E. P. Smith
asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the congestion in the London police courts, he will consider the appointment of an extra stipendiary magistrate, with roving powers, to assist wherever needed in the acceleration of public business?
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I am informed by the Chief Magistrate that there is no general congestion in the Metropolitan courts and that any delay there may have been was local and temporary. There are at the moment 23 magistrates to serve 13 courts, at which the average sitting time is not more than three-and-a-half hours a day. Moreover, magistrates, although normally serving particular courts, can be, and are, called upon to sit at any court as the 357 need arises. Any temporary inconvenience is caused by the number and situation of separate courts that have to be served. I am grateful, however, to my hon. Friend for his suggestion which I will consider with the Chief Magistrate.