HC Deb 01 August 1872 vol 213 cc247-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If the learned gentlemen who advise the magistrates at the Mansion House and Guildhall have any pecuniary interest in the committal of accused persons for trial? In putting the Question, he wished it to be understood that it had no reference whatever to the character of the gentlemen who acted as legal advisers in the City. They were both men of high and irreproachable character, and the Question must be taken to mean what it said, and nothing more.


assumed that the Question had reference solely to the power given by statute, commonly called Jervis's Act, to charge for depositions. By that Act the clerks were required to give to the prisoner copies of the depositions on which he might be committed or bailed, on the payment of a fee not exceeding 1½d. for each folio of 90 words. The clerks to the magistrates of the City of London received payment for copies of depositions supplied to both parties; but that was also the case with the clerks of police-courts and magistrates throughout the country. In lengthy and important cases called Companies' Cases, when the inquiry extended over several days, the practice was for the legal advisers of both parties indifferently to apply to be supplied with the copies of evidence taken during each day, so that payment was made quite irrespective of the fact of committal. The clerks could, therefore, have no object in recommending the committal of prisoners, with a view to obtain remuneration from those charges. He had never heard any complaint on the subject; but the question of the remuneration by fees to clerks of justices must no doubt come under the consideration of Parliament next Session.