HC Deb 20 April 1953 vol 514 cc633-4
32. Mr. H. Brooke

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the slow progress made by the Board of Review now sitting in Germany; how many cases down for hearing before it are still unheard; whether all cases are dealt with in strict rotation according to the date when they were entered; and whether the personnel of the Board can be augmented so that justice can be speeded up.

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend has been concerned at the slow progress which is being made by the Board of Review. There are at present 314 cases submitted for consideration in the United Kingdom zone of Germany and 95 in our sector of Berlin.

My right hon. Friend intends to appoint an additional judge to the Board to assist in the discharge of this work as soon as a suitable candidate can be found. It is also intended to set up a separate Supreme Restitution Court for Berlin.

Cases are normally dealt with in rotation unless their particular difficulty would indefinitely delay the work of the Board, or unless they involve decisions which could not in any event be carried out until the Bonn Conventions have entered into force.

Mr. Brooke

Is my hon. Friend aware that a constituent of mine has a case pending before this Board which was settled in her favour by the lower court more than two years ago, concerning property confiscated under the Nazis; and is it not extremely important to kill any impression that justice under British auspices moves so slowly that ex-Nazis can get away with their plunder?

Mr. Nutting

I hope that the answer I have given will help to remove any such misapprehensions which may exist. I am aware of the case to which my hon. Friend refers, but it is a particularly complex one which has been complicated and delayed by the fact that an oral hearing has been requested.