HC Deb 30 March 1859 vol 153 cc1120-35

Order for Second Reading read.


, in rising to move that this Bill be now read a second time, said Sir, when I introduced this measure to the House I stated shortly its purport and effect. It is very simple in its character; but I am anxious to make a few observations upon it, mainly in consequence of a discussion which took place on the subject of trial by jury last night in the other House. Although, as I have said, the Bill is a very simple one, it is at the same time a very important improvement on the law of trial by jury. The debate which took place last night in the other House was with reference to a project introduced by the Lord Chief Justice, with a view of assimilating in some degree the English and Scotch law with respect to this subject; the view of the noble and learned Lord being to introduce the system of delivering the verdict of the jury by the majority, instead of by their unanimity, in this country. When I introduced this measure, and it was read a first time, the Lord Advocate requested that I should not fix the second reading until after the Bill, to which I refer as having been introduced into the House of Lords, should have been brought forward. To that request I willingly acceded, although the Bill in question was one which raised an issue entirely distinct from that contained in this Bill. That Bill, however, has been thrown out in the House of Lords, and therefore cannot be introduced in this. I may remark to the House that the system of trial by jury in Scotland is altogether different to that of England. We are not accustomed to a forced unanimity, and know nothing of the mysterious virtues of the number twelve. Even by the law of criminal procedure in Scotland there is a jury of fifteen, and the verdict of the majority is received at once, without any obligation with respect to unanimity. We have never found any inconvenience from that mode of trial; but when, in 1815, trial by jury in civil causes was introduced into Scotland, the system was copied exactly from the English mode of procedure. A jury of twelve were appointed, and unanimity was enforced. That system has always been the subject of great complaint and dissatisfaction in Scotland; and in 1854 circumstances occurred which induced me to give the subject my attention, and I thought that the matter might be again brought under the consideration of the Legislature, with a view to remedying the inconvenience complained of. In that year a Bill was introduced for the purpose of regulating the common law procedure in the courts of England, and one of the clauses of that Bill provided that verdicts might be delivered by a jury in which ten out of the twelve agreed. That clause was passed in Committee in this House, but was thrown out on a subsequent stage of the measure; and I immediately took advantage of the strong feeling then evinced by English Members in favour of receiving a verdict which should be the verdict of a majority of the jury, to introduce a Bill with respect to Scotland, assimilating the mode of proceeding in trials of civil and criminal cases to this extent, that civil causes should be decided by a majority of nine out of twelve jurymen after six hours' deliberation. None of the dangers which were anticipated in respect to applications for new trials arose in consequence of the passing of the Act; and, in point of fact, the only difficulty and dissatisfaction that had been felt in Scotland arises out of the circumstance that they consider the period of the confinement too long. It is to put an end to that grievance that the present Bill is introduced. Unquestionably the House of Lords last night threw out the Bill introduced by the Lord Chief Justice, which had for its object to establish in England a system somewhat similar to the system which five years ago they approved of with respect to Scotland. But that does not at all prove any inconsistency on the part of the House of Lords; for the fact that a Bill having been passed for Scotland, while a similar measure had been refused for England, shows only that there are circumstances in the two countries which make them quite distinct in this matter, and that a measure which is applicable to one is not necessarily applicable to the other. The feeling in England is strongly in favour of maintaining the system of the unanimity of twelve jurymen, and the great argument in the House of Lords last night was that it had lasted 500 years, and that unless some overwhelming reasons were given against its continuation, it ought to be assumed that the people of England wore in favour of the unanimity of juries; and that, therefore, it would be very un-advisable to have cases settled by the decision of a majority of the jurymen, for the powerful reason that the decision might not have the same weight that it possessed when it was considered to be the unanimous decision of the whole. Now, the very same grounds that were urged to induce their Lordships to declare that such a system was unfit for England might be urged with still greater force against the establishment of the unanimity principle in Scotland. There the decision of the majority was received with perfect confidence; and to have an enforced unanimity would be extremely irksome to the Scotch people, and I believe would be very prejudicial to the due administration of justice. The origin of juries is not very easily discoverable, nor are the decisions of their constituent members very easily ascertained, seeing that they deliberate in secret; but the general impression is, that in an assembly of that number, one or two men would naturally differ from the others; and I believe it will be found that, whatever may be the cause submitted to them, they are generally the same persons. When a jury is empannelled, and there are among them many persons connected with the country, no doubt it would be a temptation to them, when they wished to go away into the country, to know that the decision would be in accordance with the numbers; but certainly the evil is not one which has been found to operate to any extent against the interests of the public, and it is certainly far less than the grievance which would arise if large numbers of respectable persons, whose time is most valuable to them, were to lose that time by being kept in a state of enforced confinement until unanimity of opinion had been obtained. It is quite clear to me that in any case to which the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict, he will get it by the system at present pursued in Scotland, and the only question that is at all likely to arise is a question whether the amount of his damages would be likely to be affected by the system. The people of Scotland have no two opinions as to the comparative merits of the system of deciding by a majority, but the only doubt is whether the Bill I have submitted does not give too long a time. I now propose by this Bill that the time of deliberation shall be confined to three hours instead of six— and, indeed, I believe the majesty of the people of Scotland believe that two hours would be quite sufficient. Upon this point I need only refer the House to the letter which Lord Campbell received from that paramount lawyer and admirable Judge who now presides over the Supreme Court of Scotland upon this subject. He refers to the measure introduced five years ago, and to its excellent working—and he voluntarily makes this remark— "But I think that the period of six hours granted for deliberation is unnecessarily long — half that time probably would not be taken up in discussing evidence — even obstinate jurymen listen to reason." I believe that that opinion is concurred in by the whole of the Judges of the Superior Courts of Scotland, who, in expressing that opinion, only express the opinion of the profession in Scotland; and it is also the expression of the opinion of the whole body of the people, who are satisfied that no advantage will arise, but that, on the contrary, great inconvenience would be felt, if it is thought absolutely necessary to retain it. I trust that as the House of Lords on a former occasion gave way to the feelings, the habits, and the customs of the Scotch people with reference to the administration of justice, they will now yield this further privilege, which is quite in accordance with all their customs, prejudices, and habits. Believing, therefore, that the alteration I propose to effect by this Bill is a sound one, and one which will be satisfactory to the whole of Scotland, I now beg leave to move that it be read a second time.


I wish, Sir, to say one word with respect to this very important measure. We have now in Scotland tried the experiment of having in civil cases a verdict returned by a majority of nine to three, and in criminal cases we have long had a jury of fifteen, and have had the cases decided by a simple majority. As regards the working of the system pursued in civil cases, by which the verdict is returned by a majority of nine to three, I can say with the greatest possible confidence, that the only difficulty or difference of opinion that has arisen with regard to the efficacy of the system, has been in consequence of the long period of time during which the jury is obliged to be detained before they are permitted to give in their decision. There are very few-cases, indeed, in which the juries in Scotland have separated without coming to a determination one way or the other; there are few cases in which they have returned a verdict in which there has been a minority of three; but in all cases in which there has been a difference of opinion to that extent, it has been perfectly obvious that had the time been shortened to three hours instead of extended to six, the verdict would still have been returned by a majority of nine against three. The principle of insisting upon a jury returning a unanimous opinion has always appeared to me to be contrary to common sense. When it is required that a jury shall be unanimous, it is plain that the unanimity cannot be complete, and to try to compel that which is not within the power of compulsion must result in an inconsistency; and in truth the real effect of such an attempt is, that although juries may enter the court and say, that they have agreed upon their verdict, and although it may appear on the face of the record that the verdict is a unanimous one, yet if there has been any difference of opinion at all in the minds of the jury, the verdict has really and truly been returned by the majority. It is very strange, in my opinion, that we should insist upon the harmonious opinion of twelve men in legal questions; because we never insist upon a unanimity of opinion upon any other questions, but invariably take the opinion of the majority and act upon it. Surely, the Commons' House is a striking instance of the truth of that assertion; and it appears paradoxical to me that, while we do not require unanimity in the making of our laws, we require the unanimous opinion of a jury as to whether they have been broken or not. During the last four or five years, the principle of a majority has been conceded in civil cases in Scotland, with a proviso that there shall be a deliberation of six hours; and what is now proposed is to shorten the time during which juries are detained. I cordially agree with the proposal of my hon. and learned Friend, for I believe it to be a fact, that one result of the long period of this forced deliberation is, that in some cases the minorities have actually been able to overpower the majorities. And it is to be considered that jurors are for the most part shopkeepers and persons in the middle classes to whom time is very important. When there is a clear idea of the issue, and anything like a general understanding of the case, the minority have a strong lever on the majority to induce them to give in to a view of the case which is contrary to their opinion. I know, of course, that there are cases of great importance in which it is quite right that a jury should be detained sufficiently long to ensure that they shall deliberate upon the questions submitted to them; but I certainly do think, that if they are subjected to a detention of three hours, and then return a verdict by a majority of nine to three, that would answer every possible purpose. I may mention that the opinion on this point in Scotland is unanimous. The proposed change is supported by the important body of the Faculty of Advocates, over which I have the honour to preside; and it entirely meets the wishes of all classes of the people. I am sorry to find that the views entertained on this question in this portion of the United Kingdom, where the trial by jury is of longer standing than it is in Scotland, are contrary to those which we entertain. I am bound to assume that there is a general feeling in England that it is desirable that there should be a unanimity in juries; but I am equally convinced, that as far as Scotland is concerned, the change proposed by this measure will not only be received as a boon, but will be conducive to the attainment of justice.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2°.


I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman who has introduced this Bill that in my opinion he has earned for himself, and I believe has received, the greatest credit from the people of Scotland by the change which he introduced into the law in respect to the trial by jury four or five years ago, and I cordially assent to the further change which he has proposed upon the present occasion. Entertaining that view, it will not be necessary for me to detain you for more than a few minutes on the question. At the same time I think it right, holding the position I do, to state shortly my view, that we are not here to discuss the question whether or not a jury, under the present system, is the most appropriate tribunal for the purpose of determining civil actions in Scotland, or whether it would be better that the principle of the unanimity of juries should be adopted. It appears to me that the laws of the country which have existed for so considerable a time have so affected the customs and habits of the people, and have so influenced the train of thought and the direction of their mind, that it is very important, before we consent to any alteration of the laws, that we should most carefully consider whether we are about to alter them in accordance) with the habit of thought which influences the nation, or whether we are about to make a change which, in consequence of that habit of thought, it is not very probable they would approve. I am not surprised at all that it is considered a matter of great doubt and difficulty in England whether it would be wise that a change should be introduced into the system of trial by jury which should have the effect of enabling juries to return a verdict in accordance simply with the opinion of the majority; but I have not the least doubt that the very reasons and arguments which in England are used in favour of the maintenance of the present system, and against the introduction of decision by the majority, would lead in Scotland to the very opposite conclusion. It has been the custom from time immemorial in Scotland not to have recourse to the unanimous opinion of a jury, but to be content with the verdict of a simple majority; and therefore any change in the law would have the effect of completely bewildering the minds of the class of people who usually form the bulk of the juries. A juryman in Scotland can by no moans understand why on one side of the border he must return a verdict by a simple majority, while on the other the opinion of the jury was bound to be unanimous. The consequence of the change in the law which enabled jurymen in Scotland to give their verdict by a majority of nine against three, with a deliberation of six hours, conferred very great benefit upon the country, and, as was correctly said by my hon. and learned Friend opposite, has worked extremely well since it has been introduced. The proposition which has now been made to limit the period of the detention of jurymen from six to three hours has met with general approval. That it has met with the approval of the very experienced and highly talented individual who now, with so much credit, presides over the Courts of Scotland—that he should have approved of the change— would naturally have affected my mind even if I had been otherwise inclined to differ in opinion with the hon. and learned Gentleman as to its advisability. That learned functionary has had more experience with respect to the working of the system of trial of civil cases by jury in Scotland than any other person; and, therefore, the Lord Justice Clerk being of opinion that such a change as that which is now proposed ought to be introduced, and that opinion being further supported by the approbation of the learned Faculty of Advocates, over whom my hon. and learned Friend opposite presides with so much ability, I have no hesitation in saying, not only that I do not oppose, but I thoroughly approve of the measure which has been introduced into this House by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Greenock. The advisability of the proposed change had indeed occurred to me before, and I may mention a case which occurred at the time I was acting as public prosecutor, which shows the extreme difficulty of obtaining unanimity in a jury—a difficulty not arising so much from any circumstances relating to the cases tried, as from an irreconcilable difference which appeared to exist in the constitution of the minds of some of the jurymen. My hon. and learned Friend and many hon. Gentlemen in this House know that it is frequently the custom to try several cases by the same jury; and I recollect upon one occasion, when I was engaged in criminal trials, there were several consecutive cases in which the verdict was returned by a majority of fourteen to one, and on inquiry it turned out that it was the same individual who was in a minority in each case. I merely mention that in order to instance how unreasonable it is to expect perfect unanimity of opinion among any body of men upon any question. With respect to the Bill now before the House, I have expressed my opinion that the change is a good one, and one that, I believe, will meet the wishes of the people. For that reason, I give it my cordial support.


said, that with respect at all events to England, he thought such a change in the law as that which it was proposed to effect by the Bill which was thrown out by the House of Lords last night would prove most disastrous; and, entertaining that view, he had given notice of a Motion for a Return of all cases in which juries in England had been discharged for want of unanimity. He believed, in point of fact, that those cases were very few indeed in number; and it had been his intention when he obtained the Return in question to found a Motion upon it to the effect that the House was of opinion that any departure from the present practice of requiring unanimity in juries would be disastrous to the country, would create confusion, and prove highly detrimental to the administration of justice. The Bill of the Lord Chief Justice, however, having been lost in the House of Lords, could not now come before the Commons for discussion; and, inasmuch as his object was answered by the premature defeat of the measure, it would not be necessary for him to persist in his Motion.


Sir, having had frequent calls made upon me, and having frequently acted as a juryman myself, this House will perhaps permit me to make a single observation upon the Bill now before us. It has been said that there having been no very great difficulty experienced in obtaining complete unanimity in English juries arises from the circumstance that that uniformity has now been required in England for a very great number of years, and that the principle of the unanimity of juries has been altogether incorporated with the ideas and habits of thought in the country. Well then, Sir, in respect to Scotland, I say that it is exactly the reverse—that it is only comparatively recently that we have had established the system of trial by twelve jurymen in civil cases; and when that system was introduced and acted upon on the same basis as the same system in England, the prejudices of the country were altogether opposed to it, and in favour of working by a majority of jurymen. With regard to criminal cases, they wore already decided by a majority, fifteen being the number of the jurymen appointed to try the case. They worked by a small majority; and certainly the entire prejudices of the people were in favour of deciding by a mere majority. When the change in the law was introduced which rendered a jury capable of deciding by a majority of nine against three, hon. Gentlemen can hardly understand or conceive the difficulty which was experienced in getting that majority, and, in point of fact, it seemed to be the most hopeless thing in the world to expect anything like unanimity even to that extent. It was perfectly vain, and a mere waste of words, to endeavour to argue with jurymen, and to impress upon their minds that the idea of unanimity was an abstract and theoretical idea—that in reality it was nothing more than a yielding of the minority to the majority, and I really know of no task which was so difficult and harassing as the task of endeavouring to convince three or four men who had all their lifetime been accustomed to decide cases according to the numerical majority of the jurymen, and who could by no means be made to understand that unanimity in a jury meant nothing more than a compromise. Well, a great change was made in the law four or five years ago, through the exertions of the hon. and learned Gentleman who proposes the present Bill. That change, I am free to admit, was a most judicious change, and it has effected a vast amount of good. As, therefore, an evil still remains to be redressed, and a grievance to be remedied, I cannot but hope that much good will result from the proposed additional relaxation of the law. I cannot sit down without adding one more instance of the favourable working of the jury system when the majority is empowered to decide the question submitted to it. The effect of the system at present pursued in criminal cases has, I think, not been so satisfactory as could be wished, for I think one man can often turn a bare majority to his own views; whereas, if there is a necessity for great deliberation and consideration, which is implied in the majority being a large one, I think that very often a different verdict would be arrived at. I, therefore, am of opinion that a change in the criminal law, which would render it necessary that the majority should be three-fourths, would be a great improvement.


It seems to me that when we argue this question upon general principles, we go upon the basis that human nature is different in Scotland and in England. If the Bill which was lost last night in the House of Lords had come down to this House, and had been discussed, I have no doubt that we should have had a vast variety of opinions upon it; but I cannot but think that it is more reasonable that we should be bound by the decision of the majority of a jury than that we should insist upon obtaining that which we really never can obtain—namely, perfect unanimity on the part of juries. I can bear testimony to the great advantage which the decision by a majority possesses over the principle of perfect unanimity. I resided for several years in one of our colonies, in a position in which I had a good opportunity of judging with respect to this matter. There we had a mixed community of English, Scotch, and Irish. The colony I allude to is New South Wales. Sixteen years ago the system in New South Wales was the same as that which now exists in England; it was based upon the principle of the perfect unanimity of the jury. I had the honour at that time to fill a position in the colony which enabled me to introduce the principle of the Scotch system; and I may observe that the introduction of that principle did not in any degree alter the general jurisdiction cither of the criminal or the civil law. Instead of the old practice of perfect unanimity, we introduced the system which it has been stated has effected such great good in Scotland, namely, the decision of jury cases by a majority of three-fourths of the jury after a deliberation of six hours. In the Bill which was necessary to establish that sys- tem, we gave the power that by the consent of both parties the verdict of the jury might be given when the necessary majority for the decision of the case was arrived at, notwithstanding that the six hours might have remained unexpired. What was the result of the introduction of that system into the colony of New South Wales? I can speak with respect to its operation during no less than eight years; and, therefore, my experience is such as enabled me to form something like a judgment upon the question. These jury cases were constantly coming under my notice. I myself was frequently in the jury room, and I found that in point of fact any pretence of perfect unanimity among juries is mere hypocrisy. I found that before the alteration was made which enabled the jury to return a verdict by a majority, eight times out of nine the verdict that was returned was not the unanimous opinion of the jury, but was, in fact, a compromise between different parties. In cases of very great importance where there was any very strong feeling on the subject, my real belief is that the majority of the jury very often, by standing out, were unable to decide the verdict. I do not pretend to say that that was proper. Of course I know it was wrong. But what followed the working of the Act? Why, that practically two hours after the retirement of the jury had very rarely elapsed before they came to a verdict, and that verdict was very often a verdict of ten to two, or eleven to one. Seeing the great advantage that followed the introduction of that system into the colony of which I speak, I cannot but believe that the principle upon which juries should be formed should be the principle of a majority as opposed to the principle of perfect unanimity. I think the change proposed by the Bill now before the House will be a beneficial one, and, therefore, I shall support the second reading.


I merely rise to express, to a great extent, the same sentiments which have been expressed by my hon. Friend behind me, in reference to the unanimity of juries in civil cases. I regret that we shall not have an opportunity of considering that subject in this House, and I very deeply regret the loss of the Bill of the Lord Chief Justice in the House of Lords. In most of the cases upon which the decision of a jury is given, I cannot help thinking that the unanimity is more apparent than real. I perfectly agree with the lion, and learned Gentleman below me (Mr. Moncreiff) that it is impossible to expect that, considering the constitution of the human mind, there can be that unanimity in every case which the law requires. Under these circumstances I should have been most glad to have discussed, in this House, the propriety of permitting juries some escape without compelling them to do that which in many cases is a direct violation of their consciences. With regard to criminal cases the issue is very different, and I can see abundant reasons why criminals should not be convicted otherwise than upon the direct verdict of the whole of the jury. But in civil cases there are no such reasons. I am prepared to admit, that under the law as it now exists a verdict is rarely given of which I could not approve; but to show the House that the notion of the unanimity of juries in such cases is a pure fiction I may mention an anecdote which may throw some light upon the question. I happened some time ago to meet a very experienced juryman, who is frequently summoned upon special juries, and I inquired of him the modus operandi. He said, "I have had very great experience of the working of juries, and I always make it a practice, whenever we are called upon to give our verdict, to differ in the box. By that means I secure our being sent away to a private room, which generally enables us to be discharged without being required in another case, a second jury being almost invariably sworn. When I get into the room, I propose before discussing the question at all that we should agree to be bound by the decision of the majority. We then proceed to discuss the points at issue, and upon a division I frequently find that there is a small majority of one, two, or three, one way or the other. We go into court, however, and pronounce what is considered the unanimous verdict of the jury; but what is very frequently merely the verdict of a majority. I think this statement satisfactorily proves that the unanimity of juries is more apparent than real; and I should be glad to have an opportunity of discussing the question in all its bearings in this House.


I once had the honour of acting upon a jury as foreman, or what would be called in Scotland chancellor. The object of the cause was to determine the value of solum fifty acres in extent under high-water mark. The solum had been required for the formation of dry docks in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, and various parties competed for the right of ownership—namely, the Crown, the City, and the Commissioners of the Port of Leith. It became necessary to empannel a jury to determine the value of the solum in question; and after having been detained for a considerable time, we were sent down in three or four hackney coaches to see the solum. When the coaches were put in motion, I must confess that we felt very much like convicts marched off to the hulks; but when he had returned, and were assembled in a small room to consider our verdict, a juryman pulled out a pencil and began to calculate the value of the solum. My opinion was, that as the scheme had been abandoned, and the land was under high-water mark, it was worth little or nothing, and I was for giving the smallest coin in the realm; but the gentleman with the pencil and paper entered into a very elaborate calculation, and wished to give a verdict for £100,000. There were a great variety of sums proposed between that and the extraordinary low figure I fixed as the value; and while we were engaged in discussing the question we were imprisoned in a small and ill-ventilated room. I looked out of the window to see if there was any mode of escape, but I found we were three stories from the ground. The door was locked; we had not a particle of fire, or of creature comforts of any kind, and I found it totally impossible, by any ingenuity, to make my escape. After a very long and a very absurd deliberation, we agreed at length, not for the sake of unanimity, but because we found it was the only way of escaping to our families, to agree upon a verdict for £50. I certainly think that in this 19th century it is high time to abandon all such absurd schemes for producing what is never arrived at after all—total unanimity.


After the expressions of opinion which have fallen from the Lord Advocate and from my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Moncreiff), who are both very high authorities on the practice and experience of the courts of law in Scotland, I have not the slightest doubt of the de-desirability of the proposal now made by the hon. and learned Member for Greenock. I am anxious, however, to guard against any misapprehension, and I therefore beg to state, that however desirable an alteration of the law of England may be in reference to the unanimity of juries in civil cases, in regard to criminal cases, I perfectly agree with the hon. and learned Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Mellor) that under no circumstances can a case be foreseen in which it would be advisable to alter the law which now requires such juries to be unanimous in their verdict. According to the feeling which prevails in this country, I am satisfied that in criminal cases, with anything short of the unanimous verdict of twelve men, it would be utterly impossible to carry out the sentence. In a case of murder, for example, if three jurymen thought the accused person innocent, it would be perfectly impossible to carry the sentence into execution. The question, however, is so palpable that I will not detain the House with any further remarks upon it. At the same time I think that many amendments in our law in strict analogy with the forms now established in Scotland might be safely introduced, and would be of considerable service. I do not know how the jury system in Scotland works in every particular. I am not aware whether they have established the absurd system of starving a jury. In my opinion nothing can be more absurd or more contrary to human nature. In this country it is almost one of the institutions of the country that when men meet together they should refresh themselves, and if they were not aware that they were liable to be exposed to starvation and cold, a jury would always go into the jury-box with much better spirit and humour. I believe there is no institution which we value more than trial by jury, and yet there is no class of men more ill-used than jurymen. Whether you take common or special jurymen, there is no class worse used. No accommodation is provided for them in the courts, but they are obliged to find places where they can, and frequently they are kept standing for hours in the passages of the court: and perhaps in the end the case for which they were summoned, never come on at all. Again, I cannot see upon what principle of justice a special juryman is paid a guinea and a common juryman nothing. Some people attend the courts in order to be appointed jurors, so that they might get the guinea, and several are said to make a very good thing out of it. For my own part, I cannot see why all the jurymen should not be placed on the same footing; why they should not have ample accommodation provided for them; and why, in civil cases, the absurdity of restricting the number of jurymen to twelve should be continued, especially in special jury cases. In those cases it frequently happens that the list of special jurors is read over several times, when it is found that two or three are absent, and then at length a tales is prayed, and the vacancies are supplied. You thus get nine or ten men upon the jury of superior mind and attainments, but you put upon the same jury two or three uneducated men, any one of whom may stand out against the rest. In that respect, and also in reference to the principle now adopted of starving a jury and exposing them to the cold, I should be glad to see an alteration. I rejoice to find that the law of Scotland, which does not require unanimity in civil cases, bas worked well, and, as that is the case, I cannot object to the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Greenock to reduce the time of the confinement of a jury from six hours to three.

Bill read 2° and committed for Wednesday 13th April.