HC Deb 25 February 1924 vol 170 cc90-1W

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider the removal of the distinction that workers appearing before a Court of Referees to substantiate their claim for unemployment benefit shall not be accompanied by a solicitor?


Under the Regulations a claimant may be represented before a Court of Referees by any person, not being counsel or a solicitor. If professional legal assistance were allowed it would probably become the ordinary practice to employ it, and serious expense would thus be thrown upon claimants who, being unemployed, are not ordinarily in a position to incur it. The cases heard before Courts of Referees are seldom such as to make professional assistance necessary. If a point of law of any importance arises there can always in practice be an appeal to the Umpire, before whom professional advocates may appear. On the whole, in the general interests of the claimants themselves, I think the existing rule is a good one.


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that the unemployment pay of George Parker and Albert George Mawbey (Sheffield unemployment register, Nos. 2,561 and 17,800, respectively) was stopped on the 30th November, 1923, pending certain inquiries; and whether he will give the matter his early consideration?


Payment of unemployment benefit has been suspended in the two cases referred to by the hon. Member as the question of instituting legal proceedings against the claimants under Section 22 (1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, has been under consideration. After careful investigation of all the circumstances, it has now been decided not to take proceedings, and the claims are being sent to the Chief Insurance Officer for adjudication. Any arrears of unemployment benefit due will be paid at an early date.