Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that newly-appointed justices of the peace shall represent accurately a cross-section of the community from which they are appointed.
Advisory committees are asked, when they recommend persons for appointment as justices of the peace, to see that there are persons in the Commission representative of various sections of the community and I take into account the need to secure this when I am considering their recommendations.
Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that he takes into account not only political affiliations and political colours in various areas, but the social and economic background of the individuals representing particular areas? Will he take into account the desirability, wherever possible, of appointing postmasters or sub-postmasters, because very often these are the people most in contact with the local community?
Yes. General guidance along the lines of the recommendation of the Royal Commission has been given to the committees in respect of this matter. I find that they do select carefully, but we must appreciate that the paramount consideration must be fitness to discharge their judicial functions. I can assure my hon. Friend that I will take into account the matters which he has raised.