§ Mr. BECKER
asked the Home Secretary if any special qualifications are required of justices of the peace who preside in Children's Courts; and, as it is at present necessary to be more than 55 years of age to be a justice of the peace for these Courts, will he recommend, as these cases are purely to do with children, that young men and women are appointed in future?
In London, under the provisions of the Juvenile Courts (Metropolis) Act, 1920, the Magistrates who preside over the Juvenile Courts are nominated by the Secretary of State, who is required to have regard to their previous experience and their special qualifications for dealing with cases of juvenile offenders. There is no such statutory requirement elsewhere, but, in a circular letter issued in April, 1921, the Home Office recommended that a special rota of Justices should be assigned to Juvenile Courts, which should include men and women who have gained experience of the problems of juvenile delinquency or who are otherwise specially interested in the training of young people. The Home Office has given no countenance whatever to the suggestion that a Magistrate must be middle-aged before he can sit in a Juvenile Court, but it seems to me that considerations of age are less important than qualities of sympathy with, and understanding of, young people.