HC Deb 21 February 1839 vol 45 cc759-60

Mr. Fox Maule moved for leave to bring in a bill to regulate the Metropolitan Police Courts. He said, that this was the second measure introduced upon the subject. His object was to separate and make distinct the police from the judicial duties of the police courts. Although the former bill comprehended the city, the present did not, but would leave the jurisdiction of the city authorities as they existed at present. The purpose of the bill was to render the metropolitan courts more respectable in every way, and to give them both the appearance and reality of police courts of justice. Her Majesty's council were to have the power of altering the situation, and increasing or diminishing the number of courts, as circumstances might require. He proposed, farther, to extend the jurisdiction of these courts, abolish the separate establishments of constables attending at each court. He proposed, also, to increase the salaries of the judges who were to preside, and to give the Secretary of State the power of superseding any of the present judges whom he might not deem qualified, allowing them retiring pensions, not exceeding two-thirds of their present salaries. By the new arrangements the magistrates should sit every day, from ten in the morning until five in the evening. Power was also to be given to a single magistrate to perform certain duties, which now require the presence of two magistrates. It was also proposed, in order to ensure uniformity of practice in the different courts, that the magistrates should hold quarterly meetings, for the purpose of comparing notes of what had taken place in their respective courts; and power was to be given to the Secretary of State to make rules for the same purpose of ensuring uniformity of practice in those courts. There was another power proposed to be given to magistrates, which might create a little discussion, and, perhaps a little jealousy; at the same time it was one which could not but be attended with great utility in practice. In certain cases a magistrate committed a prisoner for trial; it was proposed to supersede the necessity of a presentment by a grand jury, so that the prisoner might proceed immediately to take his trial, without going before a grand jury. With respect to the civil jurisdiction proposed to be conferred on these courts, it would be the subject of a separate measure. There were some further details into which he would not enter, but would merely move for leave to bring in the bill.

Mr. Hodgson Hinde

asked whether it was the intention of the Government to bring forward any measure during the present Session for the reform of the corporation of London?

Mr. F. Maule

answered in the negative. Leave given.