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Vaccination (Exemption Certificates)

Volume 345: debated on Thursday 30 March 1939

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asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that some magistrates refuse to sign vaccination exemption certificates on the ground of conscientious objection; and will he circularise magistrates to make it clear that a statutory declaration of belief that vaccination would be injurious to the health of the child is the only requirement to be observed by the applicant?

My attention has recently been drawn to certain newspaper reports regarding the alleged refusal of a magistrate to attest statutory declarations made under Section 1 of the Vaccination Act, 1907, and I am having inquiry made. I believe it is well understood that the attestation of the statutory declaration by a magistrate is a purely ministerial act, and that, if a declaration is brought to him at a convenient and proper time, he should not refuse to attest it; and on the information before me I do not think there is any need for a general circular to justices on this subject.