§ 4.35 p.m.
§ Order of the day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, I rise to move the Second Reading of the Judges' Remuneration Bill. This Bill, I hope, will he regarded in all parts of the House as coming in the category of non-controversial. I would, indeed, myself he inclined to put it in the further category of "long overdue," for the salaries of the High Court. Judges, which form. of course, the largest proportion of those affected by this increase, have not altered since 1832, which is over 120 years ago. Though the positions of the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls have been reconsidered since that date, the Lord Chancellor's salary has riot been increased, and I think I am right in saying that the salaries of the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls actually went down in 1851, the Lord Chief Justice's from £10,000 a year to £8,000 a year, and that of the Master of the Rolls from £8.000 a year to £6.000 a year. They have never been raised since. Yet during the whole of that period, from 1851 to now, the value of money, as we all know, has fallen to a fraction of what it was at that time, and taxation, both direct and indirect, has gone up by leaps and bounds. As a result, the salaries of our Judges, I believe it has been calculated, now amount in real money, in real value, to about only one-sixth of what they were 120 years ago.
It may be said that Judges are not unique in that. It is, of course, the common experience of all those who have to live upon fixed incomes. It has been, I expect, the personal experience of a good many of your Lordships. But Judges are penalised in a way that, a good many of us are not. The vast majority of the British people, if they are hard hit by heavy taxation or by rises in prices, can always turn their hand to supplement their income by going into business, by writing for the Press, or in a thousand other ways which your Lordships can think of for yourselves. But a Judge, as I understand it. cannot do things of that kind. He has 1018 to lead what may be described as a dedicated life. It is the very essence of the position of a Judge in this country that he must keep himself aloof from anything which could be conceivably open to criticism or even controversy. He must not lend himself to anything which could in any way affect the integrity of his judgment. He must be absolutely above suspicion of any bias or personal interest. That is clearly:right, I am sure we should all agree.
But I do not think any of us entirely realises what a vital part the Judiciary plays in the whole of our social and constitutional system. We talk easily, almost glibly perhaps, of the liberties of our people and the rights of equal justice which are enjoyed by every free Englishman, but we do not always stop to think that those rights and liberties have to be preserved, and, in fact, can only be preserved by an independent and incorruptible Bench. I suppose that the most important of all the features of our British way of life is the Judiciary's complete independence of the Executive. A judge has to decide the case before him always, to use the old phrase, "without fear or favour, affection or ill will." His conclusions must he based, first, on what is known as the Common Law of England, and also, of course, upon the legislative enactments of the Crown and Parliament. Secondly, he has to depend on that great body of legal doctrine which has been enunciated by his brother Judges on the Bench in the past and at the present time, and on the interpretation which has to be put upon that legislation. But that is all. No other considerations but those can influence him.
In his judicial capacity he has a heavy responsibility to bear. He has to do justice. first of all, between man and man, and he has also—and this is becoming, I imagine, more important with every year that passes, now that the State plays such a large part in. our lives—to do justice between. the individual citizen and the State. Ha has to ensure that the Administration conforms with the law, and, in particular. that the powers which are exercised by the Executive conform with the law. To the proper performance of all these weighty functions it is essential that there should be an absolute independence of the judiciary from the 1019 Executive, and that 'that independence should always be maintained. No doubt, the position of a Judge vis-à-vis Parliament is in some respects not quite the same as that of a Judge vis-à-vis the Executive, for while a Judge, quite rightly, cannot, in any circumstances, be removed from his position by the Executive, he can, of course, be removed by an Address of both Houses of Parliament which is the sovereign power under the Crown.
But even Parliament has put Judges in a very special position. It has taken the precaution, as we all know, of charging their salaries on the Consolidated Fund, so that they are not subject to the annual scrutiny of Parliament; it has also eschewed the right to criticise Judges in their judicial capacity. Parliament, which represents the British people, the whole electorate of the country, has throughout history been at special pains to protect the independence of the Judiciary. This, I should have thought, was both natural and right. After all, the legislation that rules our lives is, in fact, the joint creation of Parliament and the Bench; Parliament decides what the law ought to be, and the Bench decides what in fact it is. As I see it, the work of Parliament largely depends for its effectiveness on the fact that both Parliament itself and the individual citizens of the country know there is behind it the Judiciary, which not only applies and enforces the law, but interprets it, where necessary, with high integrity and vast professional skill. I imagine that there can be no profession where professional skill based on long experience is more necessary than in the case of the Judiciary.
I am sure I have said enough to show that the discharge of judicial duties as they are conceived in this country requires qualities of the highest kind, both of mind and of character. In a position such as that, we clearly need the best men we can get. I do not say, of course, that the type of man one gets in a position of that kind depends on the reward which one gives him; that would be far too great a simplification and I think it would not be fair to those great men who have become Judges in this country. But it surely is necessary, I should have thought, that the reward 1020 which we give to a man of that kind should be enough not to inhibit him from accepting promotion to the Bench; and it should be adequate, too, to keep him from gnawing anxieties while he is on the Bench. I remember that is an aspect which we discussed when we were in the other place during the war, in connection with another Bill of a rather similar kind.
In this country, as your Lordships know, superior Judges are normally recruited from the Bar, and a successful practitioner at the Bar, even in these hard days, can. I imagine, earn a very substantial increment. It would be surely absurd, and I think very wrong, if it were to be found, when it was proposed to promote a man from the Bar to the Bench, that the pecuniary sacrifice in which he would be involved in taking these new responsibilities would be so great that he simply could not afford this promotion, and that, therefore, the State should be deprived of the services of the best men for these vitally important posts. As I am sure the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, will agree, that is the point which we are very nearly reaching in this country at the present time.
I suggest, therefore, that the case for an increase in the salaries of our Judges is unanswerable. The only question is what ought that increase to be? Clearly it is desirable to give them a sum which will not have to be reviewed again in the course of a few years. A Judge's salary is not the sort of thing which ought to be constantly altered with every fluctuation in the cost of living. No doubt, we have delayed rather too long this time; but that is no reason for rushing to the other extreme. That is the main reason why in the Bill, which as your Lordships will remember came before Parliament last Session, the Government proposed to deal with this problem by making a portion of the Judges' salaries tax free, for it would have given a certain stability to those salaries against fluctuations in direct taxation. But Parliament, in its wisdom, clearly did not like that proposal: and, no doubt, to pay salaries tax-free does create, or might create, a dangerous precedent of a privileged class which might be further extended.
The Government accept that view and they have therefore decided, as your 1021 Lordships know, not to press that proposal further, and they have turned to possible alternatives. There is, of course, no question of putting Judges into the position that they occupied a hundred years ago: that would be, if I may use a colloquialism, to cock them up "higher than practically all their fellow citizens. I am certain that the Judges themselves would not desire that. Any decision which can be taken on this subject, whatever decision it may be, must be open to criticism by someone; but, after weighing all the considerations which have to be taken into account, the Government, as your Lordships know, have come down in favour of a proposal to grant an increase of £3,000 a year gross salary, with rather smaller increases of £2,000 a year in the case of a Lord Chief Justice and a Lord Chancellor. It will not mean, of course, that Judges will get all that money; they will not get the whole of that amount because it is subject to taxation. In the case of a Judge who has no other source of income, who is married but has no children, a fairly average case I think, the net increase will, in fact, be £734 a year. In the case of the most highly paid offices, that is to say the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor, what the Government propose is to give an increase of £2,000 a year. That will mean a net increase, in circumstances similar to those which I have already described with regard to the High Court Judges, of, for the Lord Chief Justice. £355 a year, and for the Lord Chancellor. £284 a year—not very enormous increases.
In the case of my noble and learned friend the present Lord Chancellor, I am afraid it means, indeed, no increase at all, for he, if I may make such an explanation to your Lordships in his presence, feeling deeply the importance of this measure and wishing to be entirely free to advocate it, has made it clear to the Government that he does hot intend to draw any additional salary, and he has authorised me to say this in your Lordships' House. In case any noble Lord is interested in the question of pensions, I should add that this Bill will not affect pensions at all. They were dealt with, as the House will remember. in the Administration of Justice (Pensions) Act, 1950, and the Government do not propose to make any further change. Such is the Bill which it is my 1022 agreeable duty to recommend to your Lordships this afternoon. The increases, I agree, are certainly not princely, if I may use such a word; but they are, I believe, the least on which the high standard of the Judiciary can be maintained. It is in that: spirit that I commend the Bill with confidence to your Lordships. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read2. —(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ EARL JOWITT
My Lords, I so entirely agree with the observations which the noble Marquess who leads the house has just made that there is really no reason why I should trouble your Lordships at all. However, I think it might be desirable that this Bill should have our blessing from this side of the House as well as the blessing of the Government side. I congratulate the Government; I congratulate the Loaf Chancellor: and I congratulate the noble Marquess that he has been able to introduce this Bill. I am probably revealing no secret to him, or to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor when I say that I hoped I might be able to introduce a similar Bill. I had to induce the Chancellor of the Exchequer to agree to an increase for the county court judges, and I succeeded in doing that. But, having achieved one increase, it is always desirable to have a little pause before tackling the next problem; and the next problem was that of the High Court Judges, which is now being tackled.
I do not, unfortunately, go back in my memory for 120 years, when the Judges' salaries were then increased to £5,000 a year; but I remember the time before the war. and I knew a good many of the Judges at that time. It is rather interesting to see what is the position of a Judge to-day, if he is a married man with no other income at all, compared to his position in 1913, before the First World War. Then and now the nominal salary was £5,000 a year.. Then, taxes would have left him something like £4,500 of his income. To-day, taxes take away half his income, so he is left with £2,500. But the £2,500 which he gets to-day is nothing like the £4,505 which he got in 1913. I am told—many 1023 of your Lordships will know far better than I do what would be the right figure —that the approximate equivalent to-day is something like £850. So to-day the Judges' equivalent salary is £850, as compared with £4,500 before the First World War.
The noble Marquess has put his finger on the real necessity of this Bill. It is not, of course, that any of the existing Judges will do their work any better because they are receiving a rather larger salary, an extra five, six or seven hundred pounds net. But it is this. I became concerned in my time about the very problem which the noble Marquess mentioned, about inducing the right sort of people to leave the Bar to become Judges. I also think that a change has come over the situation in the universities since my young days. When I was there, I believe, young men who got a very good "First" used generally to regard themselves as marked out for the Bar; they used to go for the Bar, and formed an immense reservoir of promising young people from whom to draw. According to what I hear from the universities, that is not so to-day. After all, the man who goes into business, and devotes himself to his business, may be able, by building up his business, to bring forward an asset for himself which does not hear tax. He starts with a business which is worth very little; he works it up and develops it, and it becomes worth a great deal; and when he wants to sell it, he can. But the barrister and the Judge are shorn lambs before the wind of the Revenue officials. They cannot do anything of that sort. I feel that, unless we promise a reasonable remuneration for our Judges, there is a danger that we may not recruit the right sort of man. That situation has not arisen yet: I pray God that it never will. But I believe there is that danger.
I think our forefathers were very wise men when, one hundred and twenty years ago, they arranged to pay their Judges a salary which in those days must have been princely. I believe that we have profited down the ages from the wisdom of our forefathers, because I believe this simple faith—I believe that in a democracy the foundation rock on which it is built must be the due administration of justice. I believe it to be a fact that 1024 every citizen knows that he will get his case fairly and honestly heard and disposed of. That prevents him from seeking to take the law into his own hands. I believe that we cannot lay too great a stress on the vital importance of the due administration of justice. If we are to have, as thank God we have had for many years, justice properly and well administered—and I do not think I am prejudiced or partial when I say I honestly believe that justice is better administered in this country than in any other country in the world—we must draw the right sort of man. Therefore, I agree with the noble Marquess, that this Bill is long overdue. I am very glad that it has been introduced, and I believe that the concessions which are being made—I do not discuss quantum, or the extent of them, or anything of that sort—are on the right lines. Therefore, for what it is worth, I certainly give this Bill my support.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, this Bill will, of course, receive the assent of all in your Lordships' House. It is a very moderate recognition of an overwhelmingly strong case. The British Judiciary is one of the prides of the nation. Its fame is world-wide. I do not think I remember ever reading a more noble tribute paid by a statesman of one country to an institution in another than the observation made by Taine, the French statesman and historian, who said once:If Justice had a voice, it would speak like an English judge.It should be a great source of satisfaction and pride to the whole of this country that one of our institutions, not only stands so high in our own eyes, but is famous throughout the world. Listening to the noble Marquess's introduction, and the warm tributes he paid to the Judiciary, one might have expected something more substantial as the outcome. I was indeed glad when the former proposal to give a tax-free allowance to the Judges was, on consideration, not proceeded with, for it would have formed a most dangerous precedent. Many others, not having the same right, would press Parliament for some consideration of that kind, and a good deal of the revenue of the State might ultimately be eaten away by tax-free grants. But the amounts which are now in fact being given are exceedingly small.
1025 Parliament says, "You Judges have served your country well. You may have given up the possibility of much larger incomes at the Bar. It is essential to maintain the. status and dignity of your illustrious offices, and we are now going to vote you a sum of no less than £3,000, a year. They receive the £3,000, but round a corner are waiting the Inland Revenue, who promptly take away in income tax £2,250, so that the Judges, in the end, receive only £750—ar d a very depreciated £750 at that. After all it is not very much. It rather reminds me of Falstaff'sa ha'porth of bread for this intolerable deal of sack.However, it is difficult to devise any other means by which we can meet this need. I do not know whether I ought to say this, but I have it in mind to say it, and I feel that I must. I am rather sorry that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor thought it necessary to decline his share of this very modest grant. It shows a sensitive honour, but it was more than the case required; and I think that later on he should reconsider it and, since the thing is obviously just in itself. he should not he unjust to himself—I am sure that would he the feeling of every one of us. But still, it is his own desire and wish, and we recognise the high sense of duty which has prompted him to take that course. For the rest, I feel sure that your Lordships will pass the Bill with unanimity.
§ 5.1 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, this Bill has been moved and supported with such eloquence and dignity that it would need nothing more from any side of the Howe in support, except that I feel that something might he said from persons who are other than Leaders of the three Parrties. There is little I can add to what has been said. One of the most important of the functions of our Judiciary is that of judicial interpretation. In our present complex system of society, this is an increasingly important function. I know that Judges are said not to alter the law, but merely to interpret it; but the process of interpretation of our laws is such that, in fact. they have to keep abreast of modern thought, modern requirements and modern outlook. This requires an exceptionally high standard from our Judiciary, and they have lived up to it.
1026 I can quote instance after instance where this doctrine of judicial interpretation of our Statute Law has enabled society to keep pace with modern requirements.
From my own personal experience, I can confirm that there are at the Bar a number of men of the highest possible standing who have not seen their way to accept judicial office. One cannot altogether blame them. They have become accustomed. to a certain standard of living. Where a man has domestic responsibilities, he has to consider people other than himself; and it is very hard to ask such a man to accept a considerable sacrifice, not only for himself but for those dependent upon him, in accepting an office of this kind. One hopes that, little as it may be, this addition to the Judges' remuneration, the increase in status which it establishes, the recognition by the general public of our Judiciary and the fact that this Bill will have gone through both this House and another place without any dissension, will afford to those who are in the running for high judicial office some temptation to accept the position of a Judge.
In regarding the salaries of the High Court Judges, it is impossible to close our minds altogether to the doctrine of relativity and the question of repercussions. It is one of the features of our economic life that whenever something is clone for A, B considers whether as a -result he has any claim,. Whilst no claims have been pat forward by anybody, I should like to make it clear that when we consider the Judiciary and the judicial system of this country, we are considering not merely the High Court Judges, but all those concerned in the administration of justice, including county court judges, stipendiary magistrates, and even masters of the Supreme Court. It is true that about two years ago we did something for the county court judges and the magistrates but if, as we all agree, the remuneration of the High Court Judges is inadequate, I am bound to say that I regard the remuneration of the county court judges, stipendiary magistrates and the masters of the Supreme Court, as equally inadequate, in spite of the increase which they received some two years ago.
Of course, this Bill is not designed to deal with that matter, and perhaps this is not the proper time or place to press these 1027 claims. I feel, however, particularly justified in doing so to-day because, when the question of the increase in the remuneration of county court judges and magistrates came before us on February 28, 1952, I voiced my own view, that I thought the increases were inadequate, and I said that I would raise the matter again. I hope the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack will not mind my saying that he gave me some encouragement. I have here what he said. I will not quote it, but I will paraphrase it. He said, "Good luck to you; go ahead," and I am doing so. I want to say, with all the force that I can, that having regard to what the noble Marquess and others have said about our Judiciary, a remuneration of £2,800 a year for a county court judge, and a remuneration of £2,500 a year for a stipendiary magistrate, is hopelessly inadequate; that if we think that £5,000 is inadequate for a Judge (as I do, and as I think we all do), if we feel that anybody on the Bench should be free from financial anxiety, as I am sure we do, we ought to look again at the remuneration of the county court judges, the stipendiary magistrates and the masters of the Supreme Court, who have very important and responsible functions.
I know that this sounds like another round of increases which are so common in industrial life—this is about the time of the year when they usually come up—but members of the Judiciary have no trade union and they make no representations. There is no concerted action; they rely entirely on the honour and good will of public and Parliament; and I hope that my words will have some effect in inducing Her Majesty's Government to give reconsideration to the position of other members of the Judiciary who are not being treated as the Judges of the High Court are being treated under this Bill. I have great pleasure in supporting the Bill; nothing that I have said reduces my satisfaction at the Bill; but I felt it necessary to put in a plea for the less fortunate brethren of the Judiciary.
§ 5.9 p.m.
§ LORD MILNER OF LEEDS
My Lords, most of what can usefully be said has perhaps been said on this subject, but I should like just to add a word of 1028 support to what my noble friend Lord Silkin has said, and to offer one or two other observations which I trust will not be regarded as unhelpful. First, I should inform your Lordships that I am authorised by the Council of the Law Society, on which I sit, and which, as your Lordships' know, represents the solicitors' branch of the profession, to say that they fully support the Second Reading of this Bill. The Law Society believe that—as indeed has been said to-day—the administration of justice in this country is the best in the world, and that this is largely due to the position of independence occupied by the members of the Judiciary and to the character of those who occupy the Bench in their various judicial capacities.
There are two observations which I should like to offer on my own account. The first is to emphasise what has been said as to the difficulty that may arise in obtaining recruits to the High Court Bench. The position of Judge is undoubtedly one of great honour and dignity. No doubt, that, in itself, has been a very great inducement in the past; but having regard to the scales of taxation from which we all suffer, it may not be an equal inducement in the future. Undoubtedly, there are members of the Judiciary to-day who have very considerable difficulty in carrying on. I myself met one occupant of the Bench a few months ago who told me, quite seriously, that he was considering resigning and returning to his practice at the Bar. If that happened, even in a single case, it would clearly be regrettable, from quite a number of points of view. It would be equally regrettable if men of the highest legal acumen and character were not willing to be translated to the Bench in the future. That is a very genuine and very real danger.
I think it is often forgotten that the important consideration in these days of high taxation is not so much the remuneration or the salary which one receives; it is rather a question of the responsibilities one has to fulfil. A member of the Bar, in good practice and earning a substantial income, may have undertaken responsibilities of one sort and another— it may be by way of a substantial insurance or, possibly, the purchase of a house, which he could well do on a gross income of £20,000 a year in 1029 former days, but which it is quite impossible for him to keep up on £5,000 a year in these days. In many other ways he may have given hostages to fortune. A good deal is said nowadays about "the rate for the job." Clearly, we are all agreed that the rate for this particular job is not sufficient. And, indeed, it may not be sufficient, but I hope that the present increase may help to enable us to obtain the right men to do the job —which is the essential thing. The country must bear in mind that the man who occupies a position of the sort we are discussing must have an easy mind, and that financial difficulty destroys the possibility of having such a mind.
There are one or two factors on the other side which we ought not to forget, particularly, the factor of the pension. There is a pension attached to the position of High Court. Judge, which is not the case with many other people—with the practising barrister, for example, or with the practising solicitor, both of whom have to endeavour, in very difficult, almost impossible. circumstances, to make provision for their own days of retirement. Notwithstanding the pension, however, the position of a High Court Judge is an invidious one, and one difficult to keep up in these days. The amount of increase in remuneration which is proposed in the Bill which the Government are putting forward. though perhaps as much as is practicable in all the circumstances, is not too much.
There is another point that I should like to mention, which has, perhaps, not been sufficiently emphasised. In recent years—and all Governments are responsible—there has been a tendency to set up all sorts of tribunals and inquiries, conducted by inspectors and various other officials. Frequently, these tribunals and inquiries sit in secret. Frequently the reasons for their decisions and reports, which they give of their own volition, or which, perhaps, are adopted and given by Ministers, are not made clear to the man in be street. But the cases which come before Judges are heard in open court. Judgment is given in open court, and tie reasons are made clear to the world. This is a very great protection, and I think that, perhaps, the ordinary citizen does not fully appreciate that that is so. Possibly the greatest protection against 1030 arbitrary treatment:hat the ordinary citizen has to-day is the independence of the Judiciary, and the fact that Judges sit in public and give their judgments in public. Their reasons are known, and nowadays that is an exceedingly important factor.
May I add one additional word in support of what my noble friend Lord Silkin has said about the necessity for looking into the remuneration of those who occupy other judicial offices of one sort or another. For a good many years, in another place, I agitated for increased remuneration for county court judges, which my noble and learned friend Lord Jowitt was able to introduce. But I agree that their remuneration now, and that of other judicial functionaries. is net sufficient, arid ought to be looked into and increased. In ibis connection, would also mention the question of travelling expenses of magistrates and justices of the peace. They perform exceedingly useful functions, and I believe I am right in saying that they are not allowed, or not always paid, travelling expenses in all parts of the country. I think this is a matter which might also, in due course, be taken into account. Whilst I appreciate that it is not, perhaps, very relevant to the present Bill, it is a matter of some importance. I hope that your Lordships will unanimously agree to give this Bill a Second Reading.
§ 5.18 p.m.
§ LORD CALVERLEY
My Lords, before the noble Marquess pronounces the Benediction, I should like, as a layman, to express my support of this Bill. I am not a recent convert; I have always been ready to support such a Bill. But I should like to say this to your Lordships. In going up and down the country, through the provinces, and talking to people I have met, I have not once heard a single word of serious criticism of the action of the Government in introducing this measure. There was one piece of criticism of the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack, and if I could help the people concerned by introducing a Bill compulsorily to increase his salary I would do so. But I believe that the, feeling in the country generally, is as I have stated.
In the past eighteen years I have visited a fairly large number of prisons. 1031 I remember on one occasion visiting a prison in an assize town. The Governor took me out to see a cricket pitch. A man was preparing the pitch for a cricket match. The Governor said to me, "That man is a German; he is serving a fairly long sentence. A few weeks ago the Judge of assize came on a visit to the prison during his luncheon interval and he spoke to this prisoner. I knew the Judge very well indeed, and when he had gone I said to the German ' Do you recognise that person who has been speaking to you? ' The prisoner said, His face was a little familiar, but I could not place him.' I replied, The last time you saw him he had on a red gown and a wig. He is the Judge who sent you here.' He then said, ' That could never happen in Germany.' "I will content myself with giving one more example. I was asked by a Judge, for whom I had a great regard, to visit a young fellow whom he had sentenced, to try to see that he did not grow bitter. I did so because it was part of my duty, and the first thing the young man said was that he understood that the Judge could have done nothing else; and he asked me, if I saw the Judge again, to tell him that he was not going to be hitter. His girl was not going to cancel their engagement and said she still loved him. That is the reason why I have seldom heard Judges criticised in prisons. I recall one case of criticism, by a man whom I knew, who had been sentenced to ten years. He did not want to stay in the local prison and understood that he was going to Dartmoor, and he had a grudge against the Judge who sentenced him because he remained in the local prison. That is all I wanted to say, but I join the chorus of approval of this Bill, and I hope that it will have a safe and swift passage into law.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, the short debate to which we have listened has fully satisfied the expectation I expressed in moving the Second Reading, that this Bill should be non-controversial. It has received the praise of everyone who has spoken, and all those who have spoken are well qualified to speak on this subject from their long experience of the law. The noble and learned Earl. Lord Jowitt, who speaks 1032 with the authority of a past Lord Chancellor, has told us, and I think it is particularly important that we should recognise it, that the outlook of those who formerly would have pressed to join the great profession of the law is now so bleak that the number of those turning their attention to that profession is continually going down. I was not aware of that before. It is a formidable fact of which we should all take account. In these days of heavy taxation, it is unhappily true that in all professions the rewards which are given to success are inevitably less glittering than they used to be. No doubt if that continues beyond a certain point the effect will be that irreparable harm may be done to a profession on which, as in the present case. the whole of our social system depends; and that would he a deplorable thing.
The noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, thought that though the Government had done the right thing they had not been generous enough. I hope that is not the case. We are in an immense difficulty in that we might have been thought to err on the other side, and in the present situation of the country that would have been equally unfortunate. I assure the House that the proposals which find a place in this Bill were the subject of most continued and serious thought by the Government before they were produced, and I hope they will be regarded as the happy. if not as the golden, mean. the middle line between what has been and what might be. They are not, of course, ideal, but I think they are about as much as could be expected in the very difficult times in which we live.
The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, ranged rather wide and the noble Lord, Lord Milner of Leeds, went wider still and brought in still more categories of those who ought to be considered. I must not be expected to-day to comment on what they said. I thought it was a gratifying tribute not only to their own good nature but to the elastic rules of order of your Lordships' House that the noble Lords should have been able to make their remarks at all. I do not propose to follow them into that debatable ground, but I think I can say, without straying too far from the path of rectitude, that I am sure my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor will give his most earnest attention to all the noble Lords have said. It only remains for me once 1033 more to thank the House most warmly for the welcome they have given to this Bill. I think that is all that needs to he said at the present stage.
§ On Question, Bill read 2; Committee negatived.