Clause 20. — (Qualification of Justices' Clerk.)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th December 1949.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Hartley Shawcross Mr Hartley Shawcross , St Helens 12:00 am, 7th December 1949

It means that for an interim period, but we were looking at the matter from the long-term point of view and I was saying that from a long-term point of view I think the possibility of being articled and at the same time drawing a salary as assistant clerk will be a very strong factor in recruiting new members to this occupation. So far as the interim period is concerned, we have protected the situation by enabling the existing unqualified clerks with a certain period of service behind them to carry on. By the time that they go—I said that they will be a dying class—the new assistants who have taken their articles with justices' clerks will be coming in. I am by no means of the view that the position is likely to arise where the only candidates for appointment as justices' clerks will be solicitors who have failed. One has to recognise nowadays—whether it is a good or a bad thing there may be a difference of opinion—that a position with the security of tenure that this position will have with a salary and with a pension at the end of the day has great attractions. I think that that kind of appointment coupled with the possibility of taking articles and drawing a salary at the same time is likely in the long run to bring suitable entrants to this very important work.

I hope that I have dealt with the various points which have been raised by my hon. Friends and by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller). I assure the Committee that we really have given the most careful thought to this, not allowing ourselves to be influenced too much by the circumstances of the moment but regarding ourselves as planning for the future on a fairly long-term view and convinced that, on that view, it really is important that this officer of the justices who is there to advise them as to the law should be properly qualified in those matters in regard to which he is called upon to advise.