HC Deb 13 May 1881 vol 261 cc401-2

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, having regard to the small number of criminal cases tried at the autumn assizes 1879 and winter assizes 1880, as shown in the Return presented to the House on the 24th day of March, he intends to bring forward any measure to reduce the number of assizes, and thus save a great waste of judicial power, and relieve all classes of jurors and others from unnecessary expense, trouble, and loss of time?


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman opposite, my Predecessor in Office, for reasons which I entirely approve, established, I think with great advantage, quarterly gaol deliveries, in order that no man who might be innocent should be left untried in prison for more than three months. That is a principle from which I have no disposition to depart. I am, however, quite aware of the inconvenience which is caused in some cases both to the Judges and to others who have to attend those Assizes, and I have been in communication with the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General on the subject, and I hope that some more convenient system may be devised by which all prisoners may be brought to trial speedily and our gaol system consolidated.