COURTS OF JUSTICE BILL, 1923.—FIFTH STAGE.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

On this stage no amendment is possible without the suspension of the Standing Orders of the House. It will be observed that the Government are anxious to have an amendment, not a very serious one, inserted. It seems to provide for a matter that was overlooked. It will be necessary that the Standing Orders of the House be suspended for this purpose.

I move the suspension of Standing Orders.

I second the motion.

Question put and agreed to.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

The Government amendment is:—In Section 69. To add at the end of the new Section 69 the following:—

"Provided that in the case of a Justice of the District Court who shall have been a District Justice under the District Justices (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923, and at the date of his appointment to the last-mentioned office was over 55 years of age and under 60 years of age, the Chief Justice may, if he thinks fit, extend the age of retirement of such Justice to such date as will enable him to complete a period of service sufficient to qualify him for a pension."

You were good enough to say on the Report Stage that if we found anything worth mentioning you would ask leave of the Seanad to have it brought up on the Fifth Stage. In the draft as originally presented special provision was made to deal with the cases of certain of the District Justices who at the time of their appointment were of a much more mature age than the rest of that body, and who, owing to the fact that it was the Superannuation Act which applied to their pension, were of an age that they could not qualify for a pension unless special provision was made. When the amendment was inserted in the Bill subsequently giving power to the Executive Council to extend the age, that became necessary. I think it will be realised that those gentlemen who undertook at a time of peril and uncertainty the office of District Justice, and who were not in the first blush of youth, persons who were of an age when one might feel less inclined to face dangers, should have special provision given to them here.

The provision is that where such a man was appointed at an age over 55 years and under 60 the Chief Justice may, if he thinks fit, extend the age of retirement of such Justice to such date as will enable him to complete a period of service sufficient to qualify him for a pension. I believe the cases that are in mind are between the ages of 55 and 60, and service for a less period than 10 years would deprive them of all pension under the Superannuation Act, and the intention is to enable that period to be extended by the Chief Justice to 10 years at least, in order to qualify them for a pension.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

What is the age of retirement in the Bill?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Would it not be desirable to fix a limit to the power of extension?

It is limited to a completed period of service on such date as will enable him to complete a period of service sufficient to qualify him for the pension. The intention is so much of a period of 10 years as would be necessary, but if once he has more than that it becomes complicated. One may have to deal with particular cases and inquire into particular ages.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question: "That this Bill do now pass"—put and agreed to.

I am very much obliged for the courtesy the Seanad has shown me in this matter.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

You have been of very great assistance to us, Mr. Attorney-General.

I am glad to know that there has been practically nothing outstanding on which there has been any difficulty.