HL Deb 12 July 1955 vol 193 cc596-9

2.50 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.]

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DROGHEDA in the Chair]

Clauses 1 to 14 agreed to.

Clause 15 [Additional courts of quarter sessions in boroughs]:


I rise to move Amendment No. 1 on the Marshalled List. This new subsection is designed to prevent recorders' certificates given under Clause 15 (3) from being liable to stamp duty. The Commissioners of Inland Revenue think that they would be liable in the absence of this provision. I want to assure your Lordships that there is nothing new in the provision. Certificates now given under Section 168 of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882, are protected by a similar provision in Section 168 (10). There seems no reason for discontinuing the exemption, and I am informed that it would cause a good deal of inconvenience if that contrary course were taken. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 14, line 30, at end insert— ("(4) Certificates given under the last foregoing subsection shall not be subject to any stamp duty or other tax.").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 15 shall stand part of the Bill?


There is one point on Clause 15 I should like to have cleared up. Your Lordships will notice that under this clause the recorder is given power to order a second court to be formed, and, indeed, to order additional courts up to such number as may be authorised by the resolution of the borough council … That is the point I want to be clear about. After all, the person responsible for the administration of justice is the Lord Chancellor. It is for him to see that sufficient courts are sitting to clear the lists, and he is in a much better position than any other body or person to see that that is done. What concerns me a little is that the question of additional courts is here, apparently, left not to the Lord Chancellor, who would know perfectly well whether they ought to be appointed or not, but to a resolution of the borough council. I do not think that altogether satisfactory. I do not want the Lord Chancellor to do anything to-day, but I should like him to consider this point between now and the next stage of the Bill. Suppose (it is an unlikely event, because borough councils are always most cooperative) that the Lord Chancellor came to the conclusion that there was need for an additional court, and the borough council, who might have to pay something by reason of that fact, were unwilling to pass the resolution. What then? Surely, the person who ought to decide this matter is the Lord Chancellor, and he ought not to be deterred from having the right number of courts because the borough council do not pass a resolution. I should like this matter to be considered, and for the Lord Chancellor to tell me now that he will consider it, and deal with it, if it needs dealing with, in the manner that seems to him most suitable.


I willingly give the undertaking sought by the noble and learned Earl, that I will consider the matter. As he knows, these questions that involve those who have to bear the financial strain of any of these provisions are matters that one must always consider, and their point of view must be borne in mind. I agree with him that the sound administration of justice comes first. I will willingly consider the matter and communicate with the noble and learned Earl, before the next stage, if necessary, or we can deal with it on the next stage of the Bill.

Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 16 [Stipendiary magistrates and their deputies]:


This Amendment makes the Lord Chancellor, instead of the Home Secretary, responsible for questions that may arise concerning the pensions of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of London Sessions. I think your Lordships will agree that this is the proper procedure. The Lord Chancellor has already, under Section 39 of the Justices of the Peace Act, 1949, taken over the duty of recommending their appointments to Her Majesty and of appointing persons to act temporarily if the Chairman or Deputy Chairman is unavoidably absent. The Lord Chancellor has also the duty of giving his approval to any increase in the salaries of these officers. Therefore, I think it is right that he should also be concerned with pensions. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 14, line 46, after ("State") insert— ("(a) in section twenty-two of the Administration of Justice (Pensions) Act, 1950 (which relates to the pensions of chairmen and deputy chairmen of the court of quarter sessions for the county of London); and (b).")—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


In the interests of clarity we thought it right to make two clauses to deal with what are really two different points. The result will be that what is now Clause 16 (1) will stand as a clause on its own, dealing with the retirement of metropolitan stipendiary magistrates only. The new clause will then provide for the transfer to the Lord Chancellor of certain of the responsibilities of the Home Secretary. I have already mentioned the question of pensions of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of London Sessions. There are, also, the salaries, retirements and pensions of all stipendiary magistrates and deputy stipendiary magistrates. The law on this matter is set out in the Second Schedule. I should remind your Lordships that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will take over some of the responsibilities of the Home Secretary in relation to the deputy stipendiary magistrates appointed within the County Palatine. I hope your Lordships will agree that this is a clear method of dealing with this part of the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— That Clause 16 be divided into two clauses consisting respectively of subsection (1) and of subsections (2) and (3).—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 16, as amended and divided into two clauses, agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

First Schedule [Transitional provisions in connection with Part 1]:


This is a purely drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 19, line 23, leave out second ("for") and insert ("in").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

First Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Schedules agreed to.

In the Title:


The Amendments to the Title are consequential on the Amendments which your Lordships have made to Clause 16 as it stands. I beg to move.

Amendments moved— Line 5, leave out ("stipendiary magistrates and their deputies,") and insert ("the retirement of metropolitan stipendiary magistrates,"). Line 10, at end insert ("and to transfer to the Lord Chancellor or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster certain functions of the Secretary of State.").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Title of the Bill, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.