Malicious Injuries Commission.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 26th June 1922.

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Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

85.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies by what authority the Compensation (Ireland) Commission supersedes the existing statutory machinery for assessing compensation for criminal or malicious injuries in Southern Ireland; whether this Commission has power to enforce the attendance of witnesses and to administer an oath to witnesses; and, if so, by what authority, statutory or otherwise, these powers have been conferred upon the Commission?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

In reply to the first part of the question, the Compensation (Ireland) Commission does not supersede the existing statutory machinery for assessing compensation for criminal and malicious injuries in Southern Ireland. Inasmuch, however, as this machinery is inoperative, the Commission provided an alternative means whereby injured persons may obtain relief. The reply to the second part of the question is in the negative, and the third part does not arise.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , Fylde

What, legal status had this Commission?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I would rather give an answer after I have had an opportunity of consulting my legal advisers.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , Fylde

The right hon. Gentleman has just told us that a Commission of which he knows nothing, and which has no legal authority, will supersede the ordinary law. Surely we ought to have some information on that point.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

That is certainly not the answer I gave, nor any fair deduction from it. It is rather a habit the hon. and gallant Gentleman has. If he will put down a definite question, I will then give him the answer, in regard to which I shall have had an opportunity of consulting my legal advisers.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

That is the very question I put. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the first part of my question, by what statutory authority the Commission has been set up?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I have said I am not prepared to frame the exact words of an answers to legal question of that kind.

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

Are we to understand that the Provisional Government have agreed to pay the compensation which will be awarded by Lord Shaw's Commission?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The Provisional Government have agreed to pay the whole of the compensation, both to our own people and to theirs, and then they will recover from us the amount of damages for which we are responsible.