HC Deb 10 August 1896 vol 44 cc395-6

I beg to ask the Attorney General—(1) whether his attention has been called to the case of "Anderson v. Gorrie and Others," the defendants being Judges of the Colony of Trinidad, tried in London in May 1894, before the late Lord Chief Justice and a special jury, when, notwithstanding that the jury found a verdict in express terms that one of the defendants oppressively and with malice overstrained his judicial powers to the prejudice of the plaintiff and wilful perversion of justice, and found a verdict for the plaintiff for £500, the presiding Judge directed judgment to be entered for the defendant on the ground that such an action did not lie against a Judge at all; (2) whether he is aware that that judgment has been upheld by the Court of Appeal, and that it was suggested by one of the Judges of that Court that in the present state of the law of England if a Judge, while sitting as such, were to shoot a man in Court and kill him, it is doubtful if proceedings for murder would lie against him; and, (3) whether the Government will initiate legislation to rectify this state of the law, or, at all events, to define what the law is?


I am well acquainted with the facts of this case; but I do not agree that the second paragraph of the question represents the true view of the law as laid down by the Judges. In my opinion the law does not require amendment in this respect. It has remained the same for a great many years, and I am not aware that any cases of injustice have been brought before the public. It is absolutely necessary that Judges should be protected. [" Hear, hear."]