HC Deb 09 March 1868 vol 190 c1225

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether, a Commission having been appointed to inquire into the working of Military Courts Martial, it is intended to extend a similar inquiry to Naval Courts Martial?


, in reply, said, he had no present intention to recommend the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the working of Naval Courts Martial. In the year 1864 the Naval Discipline Act was introduced, which made many improvements in Naval Law; and after two years, trial another Act was introduced which effeeted further improvements. Subsequently to that period the Commanders-in-Chief and Captains on the different stations were called on to report on various matters, including the Naval Discipline Act of 1866, and, though there was a difference of opinion on other questions, they all concurred in approving of that measure. By the Act of 1864, the formation of Courts Martial was facilitated by allowing junior Officers to sit as Members of the Courts, but the result was found to be an increase in the severity of the sentences. Full powers had been vested in the Admiralty—especially the Act of 1866, and were freely exercised—to modify sentences of Naval Courts Martial; and on the whole the present law, he thought, worked satisfactorily, and he was therefore not prepared to recommend the appointment of a Commission.