HC Deb 03 May 1907 vol 173 cc1199-200

Order for Second Reading read.

MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthenshire, W.),

in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said its object was to provide for the payment of the expenses of jurors who attended assizes and quarter sessions. It was not intended to remunerate jurors for the services they rendered, but merely to provide the out of pocket expenses incurred by jurymen in the discharge of their duties, He was sorry for many reasons that the attendance in the House was so thin, for the question with which the Bill dealt was not only important, but it was one in which large classes of people were considerably interested. The modest proposal of the Bill was that jurymen who attended assizes and quarter sessions should be paid their travelling expenses, and the other expenses incurred if they had to spend a night away from home. The way in which that was provided for in the Bill was quite simple. The county council or the borough council had to make a scale of allowances for each night a juryman was away from home, and of the sum which he was to receive per mile for travelling expenses. That scale of charges was to be submitted to the Home Office for approval. The other part of the Bill dealt with the machinery by which that was to be carried out. The Bill only applied to England and Wales. The question of the payment of the expenses of jurymen had not been discussed in the House during the eighteen years he had been a Member, but it had been before the House a considerable number of years ago. In 1868 the question was referred to a Select Committee. That Committee reported in favour of the payment to special jurors of £1 1s., and to common jurors of 10s. 6d. a day. The recommendations of the Select Committee were embodied in an Act of Parliament in 1870, but difficulty arose with regard to machinery when the assizes were going on, and the payments could not bemade. In 1871 the Attorney-General of the day moved the repeal of the section which provided for the payments. In doing so he intimated that he himself, and the Government he represented, agreed that the payments should be made, but that the repeal of the section was moved because of the difficulty which had arisen in the matter of machinery. It was the intention of the Government in the following year to deal with the subject by legislation, but from that day to this the question had never been dealt with. He submitted that there was a strong case now why jurymen should be paid their expenses when attending assizes. The circumstances were quite different now from what they were years ago. The work had vastly increased.

And notice being taken at twenty minutes before Three of the Clock that 40 Members were not present, the House was told by Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and 19 Members only being present, Mr. Deputy Speaker retired from the Chair until Four of the Clock, when the House was again told by Mr. Speaker, and 33 Members only being present, the House was adjourned by Mr. Speaker without a Question first put till Monday next.

Adjourned at Four o'clock till Monday next.