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High Court Judges (Salaries)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 3 May 1949

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now introduce legislation to increase the salaries of His Majesty's High Court judges, in view of the increased cost of living since these were last fixed in 1831.

My right hon. and learned Friend has this matter under consideration in consultation with the Lord Chancellor.

As this matter has now been so long delayed, can the right hon. Gentleman indicate when some steps are going to be taken about it?

Yes, Sir. Legislation will be necessary, and I think I can promise the House that that legislation will not be long delayed; it will certainly be this year.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also consult with the Scottish authorities in connection with the High Court judges of Scotland?

Do not the Government agree that public interest suffers unless His Majesty's judges are remunerated on a scale commensurate with the salaries paid to high executives in industry, and that there is an unanswerable case for reconsideration?

Obviously, all those points will be taken into consideration when a decision is arrived at in this matter.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Government have taken the trouble to draw the attention of the High Court judges to the White Paper on Personal Incomes Costs and Prices?

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House what was the purchasing power of the pound in 1831 as compared with 1949?

If the hon. and gallant Member will put down that question, I will answer it.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the constitutional implications, because in 1931 His Majesty's judges made representation, when it was proposed to reduce their salaries, to the effect that we had not that power, and that it was a grave breach of the Constitution to interfere with their terms of employment?