HC Deb 10 October 1946 vol 427 cc353-4
45. Colonel Gomme-Duncan

asked the Prime Minister why appointments, of justices of the peace in Scotland are made by the Lord Chancellor and not by the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

Since 1707 justices of the peace in Scotland have been appointed by the Crown by a special Commission under the Great Seal of Great Britain, and in their report of 1911 the Royal Commission on the Selection of Justices of the Peace recommended that, so long as these appointments are made by the Crown, the Lord Chancellor as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal is the most suitable Minister to be entrusted with the responsibility of advising on the appointments to be made. I understand that the new Royal Commission on Justices of the Peace which is just about to begin its labours may be expected inter alia to review this question.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan: While

thanking the Prime Minister for his reply, may I ask him if he really thinks that the Lord Chancellor, who has no jurisdiction whatever in Scotland, is the appropriate person to deal with this matter?

The Prime Minister

That is a matter of opinion, and I shall await any remarks by the new Commission, but it seems to have been held by successive people from 1707 onwards.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is this not the reason for a very large number of absurdities and injustices in Scotland since that date?

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