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Master Of The Rolls

Volume 979: debated on Monday 25 February 1980

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asked the Attorney-General when the Lord Chancellor expects next to meet the Master of the Rolls.

On Monday 3 March next, at a meeting of the Supreme Court Rule Committee.

In view of the lack of respect for law and order and the damage done to industrial relations by Lord Denning's recent judgments—overruled even by the House of Lords—is it not time that someone told Lord Denning that he should retire instead of continuing to collect £30,000 a year of public money while launching unwarranted attacks on the trade union movement and the supremacy of Parliament?

Order. If the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) wishes to criticise the judge, he should put down a motion on the Order Paper and it would then be in order to debate it.

There is no truth of any kind in the suggestion that the learned and much respected judge has ever allowed any personal feelings to influence his decision. Many decisions of his have been upheld and have made im- portant contributions to the law of England.

On 3 March, will one of the topics under discussion be a change in the manner of the writ of summons?

I do not have the agenda but I hope very much that it will, in view of the views expressed by my hon. and learned Friend as well as by others.

When the Lord Chancellor and the Master of the Rolls meet, will not one of the subjects near the top of their agenda be the decision of the High Court this morning that the Secretary of State for Social Services bumblingly and incompetently sacked the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham area health authority and placed commissioners in its place? Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman give that incompetent advice to his right hon. Friend? If so will he now advise his right hon. Friend to come to the House and state how he proposes to replace the illegally appointed commissioners with a properly appointed area health authority?

I have not seen the judgment. I have a brief report only of it. I understand that the learned judge said that the order was correct in every respect save for one—that it did not give a time in which the order should operate. The making of the order in every other respect was upheld by the judge.