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Re-Employment Of Retired Judges

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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I beg to move amendment No. 25, in page 18, line 14, at end insert

'and, in either case, has not reached the age of 75 years.'.

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 26 and amendment No. 27, in page 18, line 17, at end insert

'but any person so appointed cannot serve beyond the statutory retiring age for judges.'.

During the debate on this clause in Committee, I undertook to consider carefully the argument persuasively put by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) that a retired judge should not be brought back to act in a temporary capacity after he had reached the age of 75. Put briefly, the practical outcome of the arguments was that if the court required assistance, it should be provied by temporary judges who had not yet reached the retiring age or by the appointment of another permanent judge.

I do not want to spend time rehearsing the arguments in favour of retaining the clause, but the proposal will limit the modest assistance provided to the Lord President of the Court of Session. That factor was taken into account when we considered the proposal. We have come to the conclusion that the balance of advantage lies in its adoption. I trust that the House will agree that it is prudent to frame the provision in such a way as to allow a temporary judge to dispose of business that has been only partly heard before he reaches the age of 75. This is a practical and prudent arrangement which in no way conflicts with the principle behind the amendments.

I welcome the concession. The amendment is sound and I am delighted to see it on the Order Paper.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made, No. 26, in page 18, line 17, at end insert

'but, subject to subsection (4) below, a period during which or occasion on which a person may so act shall not extend beyond or be after he reaches the age of 75 years.'.—[Solicitor-General for Scotland.]