HC Deb 07 March 1910 vol 14 cc1136-7

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he had now inquired into the circumstances disclosed in the action of Fowler v. Grant, tried at the Manchester Assizes a fortnight ago, in which it appeared that a person now admitted to have been perfectly sane was committed to a lunatic asylum, and there treated as a lunatic for upwards of a year, and especially to the observations of Mr. Justice Walton that a man or woman, not a pauper, might be taken to the workhouse, shut up in an imbecile ward, and then declared to be a lunatic and placed in a lunatic asylum, without any public inquiry, any hearing before a magistrate, or any notice of what was going on; and whether he will consider the advisability of making inquiry, by means of a Select Committee or otherwise, into the working of the Lunacy Act, 1890?


The Secretary of State has seen reports of the case, and has made inquiry. He is advised by the Lunacy Commissioners that the procedure in connection with the plaintiff's removal to an asylum was regular throughout. The action was settled by an agreement between the private parties, on which he can express no opinion; but he may say that he agrees with the Commissioners in Lunacy that when there is opportunity for legislation Section 13 of the Lunacy Act, 1890, should be amended, so that a patient admitted under that Section should have the same right to see a justice after admission as is conferred upon a private patient under Section 8.