HC Deb 21 February 1921 vol 138 cc544-5
37. Mr. G. TERRELL

asked the Prime Minister if he will grant facilities for legislation to provide that no woman shall be liable to serve on a jury without her consent?


The present law enables the judge to exempt a woman from service on a jury on her application in respect of any case by reason of the nature of the evidence to be given or of the issues to be tried. It would be neither equitable or practicable to grant to women any further exemption which is denied to men. I am unable, therefore, to grant the facilities which my hon. Friend asks.


Has the right hon. Gentleman realised that all the occupations that are open to women by their enfranchisement are optional, whereas service on juries is exceptionally obligatory, and in that respect it is comparable only with military service which has not yet been made obligatory upon women, even in time of war?


I cannot agree with my hon. Friend. The idea is that as far as possible women should be put on an equality with men. If men were allowed to evade service on juries the system of trial by jury might disappear, and we cannot extend this to women.