Chairmen of Magistrates

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd January 1967.

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Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough 12:00 am, 23rd January 1967

asked the Attorney-General in view of the fact that judges are considered fit to continue their work until the age of 75 years, why the Government is insisting that chairmen of magistrates shall retire at 70 years of age.

Photo of Sir Elwyn Jones Sir Elwyn Jones , West Ham South

The qualities and experience required of a judge of the High Court are different from those required of a justice of the peace. Moreover, judges are normally appointed at a later age than magistrates. My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor, is, therefore, satisfied that it would not be appropriate for their retiring ages to be the same. He is, however, keeping this matter under consideration.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

What evidence has the right hon. and learned Gentleman to show that chairmen of magistrates become more senile than judges? Since many chairmen of magistrates are still very active mentally, will he please alter this decision?

Photo of Sir Elwyn Jones Sir Elwyn Jones , West Ham South

I do not think that there is any implication of senility in this decision—

Photo of Sir Elwyn Jones Sir Elwyn Jones , West Ham South

—which was taken by my noble Friend. He announced that he was proposing to reduce the maximum age limit from 75 to 70 in his presidential address to the Magistrates' Association in August of last year, and the Association accepted his decision.