HC Deb 04 June 1883 vol 279 c1631

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether, before the House proceeds to the Report stage of the Criminal Appeal Bill, Her Majesty's Government will seek for and obtain the opinions of Her Majesty's Judges, other than the Lord Chief Justice, on the principles and details of such measure, and lay the same before the House?


This is the third Question I have answered upon the same subject; and I must remind the House that I have already stated that before introducing the Criminal Code (Indictable Offences Procedure) Bill, I submitted it to the Lord Chief Justice, who approved of it in principle—an approval which it also received from Sir Balliol Brett, the present Master of the Rolls. The Question, as now framed, appears not only to suggest that no measure of Legal Reform should be introduced into Parliament without the sanction of Her Majesty's Judges, but also that after such a measure has been approved of by this House the Judges should be consulted, and exercise, if they thought fit, a power of vetoing the future progress of the Bill. To such a suggestion I cannot, and I do not think the Government will, give any encouragement; and speaking with the greatest respect of the Judges—a respect I sincerely entertain—I must say that if the principle my hon. Friend supports had been acted on in practice, the result would not have been very satisfactory to the progress of reform in the Criminal Law.