HC Deb 09 May 1922 vol 153 cc2141-3

(2) Nothing in this Act shall alter or affect— (b) the qualification or liability of any person to be summoned to serve and to serve as a juror or special juror on any jury in the High Court or at Assizes, or in any county court, except that (without prejudice to the provisions of Section thirty-seven of the Juries Act, 1825) a person whose name is not included in the register of electors shall not be qualified or liable so to serve.


I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (2, b), to insert the words and that a woman who is a vowed member of a religious order, living in a convent or other religious community, shall not be marked as a juror, and shall not, although included in the jurors' book, be liable to serve on any jury. This is in substitution for an Amendment which I moved earlier and eventually withdrew.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The Amendment is a reasonable one from the point of view of the persons in whose interest it is moved, but it is drafted in what are narrower terms than those which would cover all the persons who really are in the same case. I do riot know what might be the interpretation of "other religious community." "Convent," of course, is a term which explains itself. All I wish to say is that this Amendment ought not to be regarded as granting a privilege to the members or adherents of any particular church or religious community, and ought not to be taken as a precedent that members of any particular church are to receive a privilege which is not to be given to any other church. The interpretation which I understand those who move it, as well as those who support it, place upon the Amendment, is that it is intended—whether it will be effective or not—to cover the case of all women who have devoted themselves to religious work, and to that extent it is to be a common privilege, which is intended to be given to the members of every religious community. I beg the leave of the House to make these few observations in order that it may not be supposed that the contrary is the intention or the effect of the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.