HL Deb 23 July 1969 vol 304 cc995-8

3.30 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Judicial Offices (Salaries) Order 1969 be approved. Those who are usually called the lower judiciary embrace the President of the Lands Tribunal, the Recorders of Liverpool and Manchester, the Chairman of the Inner London Sessions, the Judge Advocate General, the Official Referees, the Chairmen of the Middlesex, Kent, Lancashire, South-East London and South-West London Sessions, the County Court Judges, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, the senior and chief Masters and Registrars, the Master of the Court of Protection, the Deputy-Chairman of the Greater London Sessions, the Deputy-Chairman of the Lancashire Sessions, the Chairman of the Foreign Compensation Commission, the Metropolitan Magistrates, the Provincial Magistrates Grade 1, Masters and Registrars, the vice-Chairman of the Foreign Compensation Commission, the Provincial Magistrates Grade 2, Members of the Foreign Compensation Commission and Provincial Magistrates Grade 3.

Ever since the war, the remuneration of the lower judiciary has followed that of the higher civil servants as recommended by what was the Franks Committee and what is now the Plowden Committee. They are, in fact, dealt with in three different ways. Remuneration of members of the Foreign Compensation Commission is increased administratively after consulting the Foreign Office; the Recorders of Liverpool and Manchester, the County Court Judges, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and other London stipendiary Magistrates have their remuneration increased by Orders approved by both Houses of Parliament; and the remuneration of the remainder is increased administratively, those of the Provincial Magistrates after consultation with the local authorities. Thus one can understand the distinction which is being drawn between those provided by the Crown, those provided by the central Government and those provided by the local authorities. But it is for historical, rather than other reasons, that Orders are necessary in some cases but not necessary in others.

It follows, therefore, that to-day we are concerned only with those who are the subject matter of the Orders, namely, the Recorders of Liverpool and Manchester, the County Court Judges, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and the other London stipendiary Magistrates. The extent of the increase since the date their remuneration was last increased is at the rate of approximately 3½ per cent. per annum and therefore falls within the prices and incomes policy. The Order has already been approved in another place, and your Lordships' Special Orders Committee have reported that the draft Order does not raise important questions of policy or principle; that it is founded on the precedent of previous Orders made under Section 1 of the Judicial Offices (Salaries and Pensions) Act 1959 and Section 9 of the County Court Act 1959; and that, in the opinion of the Committee, the Draft Order can be passed by the House without special attention. I shall be happy to answer any questions which may arise. The amount of the increase and the salary from which it is being increased appears in each case in the Order itself. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Judicial Offices (Salaries) Order 1969, laid before the House on 11th July 1967, be approved.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, I want to say only a few words on this Order, words of welcome. From time to time in Parliament these days we pass legislation which lays additional tasks on the County Court Judges and, indeed, so far as that goes, on the Chairmen and other members of the Lands Tribunal. It was a matter discussed last night in this House on the Housing Bill. There is no lack of work for them, any more than there is any lack of work, I am sorry to say, for the Magistrates in criminal courts who are also covered by this Bill, and the Recorders in Liverpool and in Manchester. If one is going to get people of proper calibre to do this job, I am sure that it is right that their salaries should be brought up to date on almost an automatic basis, as the noble and learned Lord has explained, in line with the senior civil servants. Therefore there can be nothing but good in this Order so far as I can see. Could the noble and learned Lord confirm the methods of dealing with the salaries of those who are not included in this Order? Is it right that they are all having their salaries increased, but by different methods that do not need the approval of this House in accordance with the general principles in this Order?


Yes, my Lords. All are being dealt with similarly, although administratively. The only difference between the two is something of a hardship on those whose remuneration can only be increased by Order. It is that if, on the recommendations of the Plowden Committee, senior civil servants have an increase of remuneration which is retrospective, this can be, and is, given to those dealt with administratively, but owing to the terms of the Act which provides for Orders those who have to obtain an Order cannot obtain the increase to a date antecedent to the date of the passing of the Order. That is one of the reasons why we are anxious that this Order should be passed before Parliament rises.

On Question, Motion agreed to.