HC Deb 26 May 1879 vol 246 cc1238-9

asked Mr. Attorney General, If it be true that, while the Criminal Code (Indictable Offences) Bill repeals in whole or in part about 80 Statutes, it leaves unrepealed about 650, all bearing on Criminal Law; and, if so, if he will take steps to make the codification more complete before asking the House to go through further labour in discussing details?


Sir, if the hon. Gentleman asserts that, in addition to the statutes intended to be repealed by the Criminal Code (Indictable Offences) Bill, there are as many as 650 other Acts bearing on the Criminal Law, I presume he has made a careful calculation, and has satisfied himself of its accuracy. The number of Statutes mentioned must, however, to a great extent, be made up of Acts of Parliament relating to offences punishable on summary conviction, of Acts which are obsolete, and of Acts which it is not desirable to re-enact. I have already explained why the provisions of all the Statutes relating to indictable offences are not codified by the Bill, and I dare say a further statement on this subject will be contained in the Report of the Commissioners. I consider the Bill contains a very large measure of codification, for it codifies all the common, or unwritten, law relating to Criminal Acts generally, and all the statute law relating to such indictable offences as are ordinarily considered to be embraced under the term "crimes." This being so, I cannot accede to the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that I shall take steps to delay the passing of the measure.