HL Deb 10 March 1936 vol 99 cc954-6WA

asked His Majesty's Government with reference to subsection (4) of Section 3 of the Royal Instructions to the Governor of Malta, which is as follows:

"No Ordinance whatsoever shall be made to continue for less than two years, except only in cases where it may be necessary, upon some emergency, to make provision by law for a service in its nature temporary and contingent,"

whether His Majesty's Government is aware that Ordinance No. XI of 1934 has been repealed and in part re-enacted by Ordinance No. XXXV of 1935, and that an appeal is pending before the Judicial Committee of His Majesty's Privy Council with a view to establishing that the enactment of Ordinance No. XI of 1934 was ultra vires in reference to Imperial legislation confirming the establishment of representative government in Malta; and that the above appeal arises from the Aesthetic Buildings Amendment Ordinance No. XI of 1934; and in these circumstances whether His Majesty's Government will give information as to whether the above departure from the Royal Instructions has occurred by accident or in connection with the above appeal to His Majesty in Council, and whether redress will be given if that appeal is prejudiced by the departure from the Royal Instructions; whether His Majesty's Government will indicate its policy in connection with proposals to increase salaries of Judges in Malta, and cause inquiries to be made with reference to reports current on the subject when the above litigation was before the Maltese Courts.


His Majesty's Government are aware of the facts referred to in the first part of the Question. They cannot, however, accept the suggestion that the passage quoted from the Royal Instructions to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta is relevant to the matter of the two Ordinances mentioned. The passage alluded to cannot, in their view, be construed as precluding the amendment or repeal of an Ordinance within less than two years of its enactment. Beyond this they do not consider that it would be proper for them to comment on the matter, as it is now the subject of appeal to the Privy Council.

With regard to the question of the Judges' salaries, the position is that approval has been given to an increase in the salary of the Chief Justice from £1,200 to £1,400 a year, and in the salaries of the other Judges from £700 to £800 a year, with effect from the 1st April next.

His Majesty's Government are not aware of the nature of the alleged reports mentioned in the concluding clause of the Question: but they do not feel that the matter can present any aspect which calls for special inquiry.

House adjourned at three minutes past five o'clock.