§ Order for the Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Mr. MORTON
I want to invite my hon. and learned Friend to tell us the meaning of this Bill. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend (Mr. Watt) as to the way Scotland is treated generally. I think we ought, at any rate, to be always told when a Bill is brought forward for Second Reading what it means—if it means anything at all. Is this Bill the result of a blunder, like the other Bill?
§ Mr. URE
This Bill is not intended to remedy any blunder. The abject of it, in the first place, is to enable a judge of the First Instance in Scotland to fix a day for a jury trial beyond three weeks from the date on which he is asked to fix it. At present, if he has not a free day within the three weeks, he cannot fix a date at all. He is at liberty to fix a day where the evidence is to be given before himself, but by the Act of 1850 he is not able to fix a day where the evidence is to be given before himself and a jury. That is the first operative clause. With regard to the second operative clause, wherever the court is satisfied that the verdict of the jury is bad, and there is no reasonable prospect 808 of any additional evidence being available to alter their views, then they are at liberty to quash that verdict, and not merely to grant a new trial.
§ Sir JOHN JARDINE
May I ask whether the Bill is concurred in by the Judiciary of Scotland and the legal profession?
§ Question, "That the Bill be now read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.