HC Deb 30 June 1879 vol 247 c953

asked Mr. Attorney General, If he has seen the statement in the letter from the Lord Chief Justice on the Criminal Code (Indictable Offences) Bill, that he read with "astonishment" Clause 19, which continues all the common law so far as justification of offences, and that such a provision is, in his opinion, " altogether inconsistent with every idea of codification of the law," and his further statement as regards codification of the statute law, that the measure is so incomplete that— The passing of the Bill in its present condition would really be a misfortune compared to which delay would be of little importance; and, whether he will now consent to withdraw the Bill for the purpose of having it introduced in a more complete form next Session?


I have read and considered most carefully the letter of the Lord Chief Justice of England alluded to in the Question of the hon. Member. It appears to me to be clear that when he wrote that letter the attention of his Lordship had not been drawn to the Report of the Commissioners who revised the Criminal Code. I say this, because in that Report excellent reasons are given for the insertion of Clause 19 in the Bill; and by the same Report it is also very clearly shown that it would not be advisable at present to attempt a larger measure of codification than that contained in the Bill. Perhaps, owing to the condition of Public Business, it will not be possible to proceed with the Code this Session; but I should not propose to withdraw the Bill for the reasons suggested by the hon. Gentleman.