§ VISCOUNT TEMPLEWOOD
asked His Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost for bringing into full operation the Justices of the Peace Act.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Under this Act, the Exchequer will meet expenditure not exceeding two-thirds the aggregate deficiency in England and Wales in the cost of running magistrates' courts, after taking account of the fines and fees received by the Exchequer. It was estimated in 1938 by the Departmental Committee on Justices' Clerks that the total deficiency then was £182,000. When the Justices of the Peace Bill was presented to Parliament in 1949, the estimate given in the Financial Memorandum to the Bill was £250,000, but it was made clear that the figure was largely conjectural and no precise estimate could be made.
The magistrates' courts committees to be set up under the Act will have to determine the salaries and expenses of justices' clerks, and there will be increased charges resulting from the extension of superannuation to a number of justices' clerks, not now pensionable, and certain additional expenditure arising out of travelling and lodging allowances to justices of the peace and the expenses of magistrates' courts committees. It is not possible to make any reliable estimate of this expenditure in advance.