[ Sir Richard Harington, judge. ] Autograph five-page 'Suggestion', being the evidence he proposes to give, as Vice-President of the Society of Chairmen of Quarter Sessions, to the Royal Commission on the Selection of Justices of the Peace.

Sir Richard Harington (1861-1931) of Ridlington, 12th Baronet, judge [ Royal Commission on the Selection of Justices of the Peace, 1910 ]
Publication details: 
Harington's document undated, on reverse of letterhead of the Shire Hall, Hereford. With TLS from the Society of Chairmen and Deputy-Chairmen of Quarter Sessions in England and Wales, Guildhall, Westminster, dated 21 April 1910.
SKU: 19219

In fair condition, on lightly-aged and rolled paper, attached with a rusty safety-pin. ONE: Harington's 'Suggestion'. 5pp., 4to. The document begins with his CV as it relates to England, the last entry in which reads: 'Chairman of Herefordshire Quarter Sessions since October 18, 1880. V[ice]. P[resident]. of Society of Chairmen of Q[uarter] S[essions]. Attends [the Royal Commission] at their request.' The 'Suggestion' follows, beginning: 'Political opinion should be absolutely disregarded & it should be no reason for appointing or refusing to appoint any person as a magistrate, that there is amongst the magistrates with whom he will be called on to act a preponderance of the opinions of any political party. | That the selection of names to be submitted to the Lord Chancellor for insertion in the Commission of the Peace for any county should be in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant as at present'. The document continues along the same lines, and includes a list of six types of persons 'best qualified, by age, education and previous habits of life, to act judicially'. Care should be taken 'to avoid selecting those as to whom there is reason to fear that their judgments might be biassed by the enthusiasm of their opinions on any particular subject - in other words, faddists'. He also considers that 'Chairmen of Public bodies should cease to be ex-officio Magistrates', and that 'Magistrates appointed in the future should always be resident in, or within a prescribed distance (say one mile) of the boundary of, the Petty Sessional Division in which they propose to act'. TWO: Typed Letter Signed (2pp., 4to) to Harington from the Honorary Secretary (signature illegible) of the Society of Chairmen and Deputy-Chairmen of Quarter Sessions in England and Wales, Guildhall, Westminster, 23 April 1910. Headed: 'Royal Commission on the Selection of Justices of the Peace'. The President of the Society, Lord Cross, has returned 'a copy of the evidence which you propose to give before the above Commission' and 'approves of the statement, a copy of which I have nbow sent to the Secretary of the Commission'. He discusses '[o]ne of the objections urged [...] to Chairmen of District Councils, &c., being ex-officio Justices' ('every member of the body is it is assumed anxious to put "J.P." after his name for a year at least'. He also comments on the position in Middlesex, of which he has personal experience, and on 'Justices who sit at Petty Sessions [and] do not reside in the Division'. The letter concludes: 'I return your original statement, together with a type-written copy of it.' THREE: Typed transcript of Item One referred to in Item Two. 3pp., folio. Docketed by Harington on reverse of last leaf: '1909. [sic] Apr 23 | Pieces of evidence to be given before the Royal Commission on the Selection of JPs'. From the Harington family papers.