HC Deb 18 March 1970 vol 798 cc366-7
2. Mr. Maclennan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to increase the expense allowances of witnesses summoned to attend courts in Scotland.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Norman Buchan)

This is not a matter for which my right hon. Friend has any responsibility. I understand, however, that the loss of earnings allowance payable to witnesses appearing in the High Court of Justiciary and in criminal cases in the Sheriff Court was increased on 2nd March, 1970, and that the allowances for travelling expenses and subsistence are currently under review by the Treasury. In civil cases the amount of expenses payable to witnesses appearing in the Court of Session and the Sheriff Court is regulated by Act of Sederunt.

Mr. Maclennan

These welcome increases are timely. Is there any continuing machinery for review of these expenses? Does my hon. Friend make representations to the Treasury about this?

Mr. Buchan

The amounts payable to witnesses in the High Court and the Sheriff Court are fixed administratively by the Treasury. In Burgh and Justices' Courts the amounts are a matter for the discretion of the Court.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Mr. Speaker, I understood the Joint Under-Secretary to say that he had no responsibility for this Question. If so, how did it get past the Table? I thought that a matter had to be the responsibility of a Minister before a Question could appear on the Order Paper.