§ MR. SEXTON
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he has observed that in one of the courts for investigation of claims for compensation for injuries (under the Crimes Prevention Act) the Commissioner refused to hear solicitors on behalf of the parties, on the ground that section 19 of the Crimes Prevention Act prescribed that the parties should be heard "either personally, or by counsel," and that this provision shut out solicitors from a hearing; and, whether, considering the poverty of the ratepayers in many parts of Ireland, and the cost of engaging counsel from Dublin, the Government will take such steps as may be necessary, either by introducing a short amending Bill, or otherwise, to facilitate the protection of the interests of the ratepayers in cases of claims for compensation by entitling solicitors to appear?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, I have observed the ruling referred to in the Question of the hon. Member, reported to have been made by one of the barristers appointed by His Excellency to investi- 649 gate and report on applications for compensation under the Prevention of Crime Act. The Question, being a legal one, ought rather to have been addressed to the Attorney General for Ireland; but I am advised that, while the 19th section of that Act, in the 1st sub-section, gives an absolute right of audience to the parties personally or by counsel, the 2nd sub-section gives the investigating barrister for the purpose of the investigation the same power as Justices sitting in Petty Sessions, and, therefore, there is nothing to prevent his hearing a solicitor if he thinks fit; and I have observed that solicitors have, in fact, been heard by other investigating barristers appointed by His Excellency under this section. In this view, therefore, no further Statute appears to me necessary.