§ MR. J. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the great congestion of business in some of the Metropolitan Police Courts, due to the increase of Local Government cases, he will authorise the cost of the necessary clerical assistance to Justices of the Peace to enable them to hold special Sessions for hearing School Board cases and summonses under such Acts as "The Public Health (London) Act, 1891," the Metropolis Management Acts, Adulteration of Food Acts, and the Housing of the Working Classes Act; and whether the jurisdiction of the Justices in such cases has been affirmed in a recent case in Kensington?
MR. GEORGE RUSSELL
(who replied) said: My hon. Friend has to-day forwarded me a complaint of the state of the business at one of the Courts which 11 I have Dot had time to look into. Otherwise, I have heard of no complaints of any great congestion of business existing at present in any of the Metropolitan Police Courts, and I think if there had been any such congestion I must have heard of it. If Justices of the Peace have jurisdiction to hear any cases over which Metropolitan Police Magistrates have jurisdiction, the Justices have jurisdiction over all the cases, and they could not be confined to hearing cases and summonses under the Acts mentioned in the question without legislation. It is true that the jurisdiction of Justices has been affirmed in a recent case in Keusington; but the question as to the decision in that case, and the course to be taken in consequence of it, is now under the consideration of the Law Officers of the Crown, and I think nothing should be done till their opinion has been received.