HC Deb 25 February 1867 vol 185 cc931-2

said, he wished to ask Mr. Solicitor General, Whether, seeing the frequent inconvenience and loss occasioned to suitors in the Civil Courts by the insufficient attendance of Special Jurors, any steps will be taken either to remedy this or to insure more correctness in the lists returned by the respective parishes?


said, in reply, that as far as he was aware there had not been any special inconvenience attending the nomination of special jurors except in London and Middlesex, but in these places both loss and inconvenience had frequently arisen. His own observations showed that, in the great majority of instances, the inconvenience was owing to persons, who ought to know the practice of the courts better, not taking due steps to have the jurors summoned. But, be- sides that, there was also inconvenience in consequence of the lists not being properly rendered by the overseers, and not being properly revised in the course of the year. As far as regarded London and Middlesex the lists were made out according to an Act of Parliament, 6 Geo. IV., and no substantial alteration had been made in the mode of doing so for the last forty years. In the year 1852, when the Common Law Procedure Act was passed, another regulation was made as regarded special jury panels; but owing to the opposition that was given the rule was not made applicable to London and Middlesex. The practice was to have the lists returned in September, and then, after certain applications of exemption were disposed of, the lists remained unchanged for a year. A great deal of the inconvenience arose from persons leaving their residences between the January of one year and the January of another, and persons becoming disqualified from age or on other grounds. He was quite certain, after the Report of the Commission in 1852, it was impossible to deal with the question without taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case, and after due deliberation on the part of those who were familiar with the subject. The subject had not yet been; formally brought under the notice of Her I Majesty's Government.


said, he wished to know, whether it is the duty of the overseers to tell jurors they are on the lists? Just before the meeting of Parliament he (Mr. Owen Stanley) received a notice in Wales, though he was over age, ordering him to be next day in the Court of Exchequer.


said, there was no such duty required on the part of the overseers who made out the lists. Any gentleman who objected to have his name on the lists must go to the petty sessions and have it struck out, otherwise he would be bound to serve.

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