§ MR. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)
To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, having regard to the expense attending the prosecution by private persons of offences against ecclesiastical law, His Majesty's Government will in proper cases direct the institution at public expense of proceedings on behalf of the Crown or at the suit of persons entitled to commence proceedings; and whether His Majesty's Government will consider the expediency of introducing legislation to provide for the expenses of prosecutions of offences against ecclesiastical law, in the same manner as the cost of prosecutions of other offences is provided for.
(Answer.) There are evident objections to a system which throws upon bishops or other persons entitled to commence proceedings in the Ecclesiastical Courts the consequent costs, which are often extremely heavy—so heavy, indeed, as to be prohibitive. But the suggestion of my hon. and learned friend would seem to involve the further proposal that there should be a Director of Prosecutions for offences against the ecclesiastical law in the same way as there is a Director of Public Prosecutions for offences against the criminal law. Very difficult and delicate questions are raised by the proposal made by my hon. and learned friend, and I am certainly not in a position at the present moment to promise legislation.—(Treasury.)