HC Deb 11 June 1951 vol 488 cc1650-1
27. Mr. Eric Fletcher

asked the Attorney-General if he has considered Mr. Iwi's letter of 6th June, a copy of which has been sent to him, describing the circumstances in which the Lord Chancellor secured Mrs. Iwi's undertaking not to sit on the magistrates' bench; and whether he has any further statement to make.

The Attorney-General

My noble and learned Friend has considered the letter from Mr. Iwi of 6th June. He has no further statement to make except to say that he is responsible for the satisfactory administration of justice, and if controversy between magistrates reaches such a point as to threaten the satisfactory administration of justice he is bound to intervene. He is always most reluctant to remove a magistrate from the bench as this would imply that the magistrate in question had been guilty of some discreditable conduct; but if it were necessary to secure the proper administration of justice he would not hesitate to do so. In the present case, the Lord Chancellor believed that time might heal the differences which had arisen between Mrs. Iwi and the other justices and he therefore pressed for an undertaking which would not make it necessary for him to use his power of removal.

Mr. Fletcher

May we take it from that answer that, while the Lord Chancellor reserves the full right in his own discretion to remove a magistrate at any time, this particular episode involves no reflection on Mrs. Iwi?

The Attorney-General

This episode involves no reflection at all on Mrs. Iwi.

Mr. Hopkin Morris

In a case of this sort where it is necessary to exercise serious powers, would it not be desirable for the Lord Chancellor to make a statement of the reasons why he so acted?

The Attorney-General

That is a matter for my noble and learned Friend.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the correspondence in this case provides evidence that the threat or pressure applied to get Mrs. Iwi to give an undertaking not to sit for 12 months was the compelling factor which made her give the undertaking?

The Attorney-General

If Mrs. Iwi had not been prepared to give the undertaking, my noble and learned Friend would have had to consider whether he ought to remove her from the list of magistrates.

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