HL Deb 14 July 1955 vol 193 cc799-802

3.57 p.m.

Amendments reported (according to Order).

Clause 13 [Retirement or removal of recorder]:

THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved to add to the clause: (" (3) The foregoing provisions of this section shall apply to a paid chairman or deputy chairman of the quarter sessions for the county of London as they apply to a recorder of a borough having a separate court of quarter sessions; and for the purposes of section twenty-two of the Administration of Justice (Pensions) Act, 1950. a chairman or deputy chairman vacating office in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section (as applied by this subsection) shall be treated as retiring after the end of the completed year of service in the course of which he attains the age of seventy-two years. (4) Subsection (1) of this section shall also apply to a metropolitan stipendiary magistrate (whenever appointed) as it applies to a recorder appointed after the coming into force of this section of a borough having a separate court of quarter sessions.") The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, this Amendment in my name applies the provisions of the Bill to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the London Sessions. This is done at the request of the London County Council. I have already explained the provisions which are applied. I do not think I need take up any more of your Lordships' time. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 13, line 48, at end insert the said subsections.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

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

EARL JOWITT moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "resolution of the borough council" and insert. "Lord Chancellor." The noble and learned Earl said: My Lords, I can put this Amendment very shortly. I do not expect the Lord Chancellor to accept it here and now. I merely raise the point so that it may be considered when the Bill goes to another place, because there is here rather an important issue. On the one hand, it is obvious, if you are going to have more recorders than one, that the person who ought to decide whether a further assistant recorder is necessary or not is the Lord Chancellor. He has his finger on the pulse, and he knows what the requirements of justice are. At first sight, it is odd to find that the question whether such a gentleman can be appointed depends not upon the edict or wish of the Lord Chancellor but upon the resolution of the borough council. The reason underlying it is not difficult to see. The borough council have to pay—he who pays the piper calls the tune. Consequently, it has no doubt been felt reasonable that, as the local authority have to pay, therefore they should pass the resolution appointing the recorder. And so there is raised here, on this small Amendment, the whole question of the incidence and expense of the administration of justice as between the local authority and the Exchequer, and as between the rates and the taxes.

I believe I am right in saying (the Lord Chancellor will correct me if I am wrong) that the salary of a recorder is paid by the local authority. I believe also that in certain cases—I am not sure whether in all—there is a countervailing grant made by the Exchequer towards that expense. Broadly speaking, in these matters I think the responsibility ought to rest upon the Exchequer and not upon the rates. In order that the whole matter as between the two may be considered, and for that purpose only, I beg to move the Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 14, line 13, leave out ("resolution of the borough council ") and insert (" Lord Chancellor ").—(Earl Jowitt.)


My Lords, I am sure all your Lordships are grateful to the noble and learned Earl for having raised this point. As he will appreciate, in this Bill we have built on the existing foundation, which is as he stated it. It starts, as he will remember, with the local authority deciding whether it will apply to have a recorder at all. Unless it so decides and so applies, then it does not have a recorder. It it does decide to have a separate commission of the peace of its own, then of course it pays the recorder and suggests a salary, although now the appointment is made by the Lord Chancellor. The noble and learned Earl and I remember that there was a time when the appointment was made by the Home Secretary, but it is now the Lord Chancellor's appointment.

At the moment there is a grave limitation in regard to the number of those who can sit, and as I told the noble and learned Earl, we took the existing procedure and therefore left it to the council of the borough to decide whether it would authorise the money necessary to make the additional recorder. I assure the noble and learned Earl that I will look into both his points—the first one that he adumbrated on the Committee stage, and the wider one, with regard to finance, which he adumbrated to-day. As he will understand, it requires not only making general inquiries of the association but finding out how it would work in individual cases. I shall certainly try to do that before the Bill reaches another place. On that assurance, I hope the noble and learned Earl will not pursue his Amendment to-day.


I am grateful to the Lord Chancellor, and I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 16 [Retirement of metropolitan stipendiary magistrates]:


My Lords, the third Amendment is consequential on the rearrangement of the Bill. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Leave out Clause 16 —(The Lord Chancellor.)

In the Title:


My Lords, Amendment No. 4 is also consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Leave out (" of metropolitan stipendiary magistrates ") and insert (" or removal of chairmen and deputy-chairmen of quarter sessions and of stipendiary magistrates in London,").—(The Lord Chancellor.)