HC Deb 29 March 1904 vol 132 cc979-80
MR. OSMOND WILLIAMS (Merionethshire)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether his attention has been drawn to the arrears of business in the higher Courts of Law and to the delay caused by the infrequency of the Sittings; and whether the Government propose to take any action in the matter.


I have made inquiries as to the state of business in the several branches of the Supreme Court. I am informed that as regards the Court of Appeal, the Second Division is now hearing Chancery Appeals set down in the month of January of this year, so that there are no arrears so far as they are concerned. It is hoped that at next Sittings both Divisions will be able to take King's Bench Appeals, and it is believed that, unless any unforeseen accident occurs, by the beginning of the Long Vacation there will certainly not be more than three months arrears in the Court of Appeal. In the Chancery Division there are no arrears whatever, and the Judges are abreast of their work. In the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division, there are, owing to illness, some arrears, but it is hoped that they will be cleared off before the Long Vacation. In the King's Bench Division the work is in a better state than it has been at any time during the last five years. There are nearly fifty fewer cases standing for hearing than there were at the commencement of the Sittings, and, with the exception of cases standing over, all the cases now undisposed of were set down since the Long Vacation. As to the special and common juries and the cases without jury, the cases now standing for hearing were all entered after the 10th January. The Sittings in London are continuous in all the Divisions, but the number of Judges able to sit depends from time to time upon the number that are absent on circuit. The Government do not propose to take any legislative action in the matter.