§ MR. COGHILL (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
I beg to ask the Attorney General whether he is aware of the great inconvenience that is caused by the practice prevailing in some counties of holding adjourned Quarter Sessions, and that at these adjourned Quarter Sessions there are frequently three or four times more prisoners to be tried than at the regular Quarter Sessions; whether the practice of holding adjourned Quarter Sessions is a contravention of the Act of 11 Geo. IV., and 1 Will. IV., c. 70, section 35, which provides for the holding of Quarter Sessions four times a year; whether he will bring in a Bill this Session to make the times of holding Quarter Sessions uniform in the different counties, to limit the number of such Sessions to 1243 four in a year, and to enable the justices to fix the days for holding them at suitable dates immediately before the Assizes are held; and whether, if the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of Sessions and Recorders of boroughs are to be called on to do the work which properly falls to the Judges of the Queen's Bench Division, he will provide for their receiving some remuneration for the additional work cast upon them?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER,) Isle of Wight
The information conveyed to me does not support the statement in the question of the hon. and learned Member, that the holding of the adjourned Quarter Sessions has been found to be seriously inconvenient. I have no doubt that the practice is legal and in accordance with the Statutes. The matter is under the consideration of the Lord Chancellor, with a view to legislation for relieving the Judges of Assizes from trying Quarter Session prisoners without the necessity of increasing the number of Quarter Sessions, and I am in hopes that some legislation may be effected during the present Session with that object. It would be beyond my province to deal with the question of remuneration referred to in the last paragraph of the hon. and learned Member's question. There is a Bill pending before the House also dealing with the same subject in the name of the hon. Member for Carlisle.