§ 1. Mr. Evelyn King
asked the Minister without Portfolio whether he will urge the appropriate committee to consider reforming the law so as to bring the conduct of all tribunals under the surveillance of the Council on Tribunals.
§ Sir Eric Fletcher
Section 10 of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act, 1958, already enables an order to be made bringing any tribunal, other than the ordinary courts of law under the surveillance of the Council on Tribunals, and I do not think that anything further is required.
§ Mr. King
Is the Minister convinced that the local valuation courts come within that surveillance? Is he aware that complaints have been made as to the conduct of the procedure within those courts? Whether or not those complaints are well founded, does not he agree that they deserve examination? Secondly, will he lend the support of Her Majesty's Government in this field, in view of the fact that many of these worried ratepayers are unrepresented and are unskilled in matters of law and 1302 should receive from the valuation courts the maximum degree of sympathy and even positive help in the presentation of their cases?
§ Sir E. Fletcher
I am aware of the complaints that have been expressed on this subject and I can inform the House that the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Scotland are considering whether to make an order under Section 10 of this Act for the purpose of bringing these local valuation courts within the jurisdiction of the Council on Tribunals.