HC Deb 24 June 1935 vol 303 cc797-9

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that, notwithstanding the recent appointment of additional judges, there are still a large number of civil cases awaiting trial in the High Court; whether steps will be taken to secure the appointment of further additional judges in addition to the filling of existing vacancies in order to dispose of the arrears which still continue; and whether the appointment of official shorthand writers in the High Court will be considered in order to save the time of the judges in making a longhand resume of the proceedings in case of a possible appeal to a higher court?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD (Vice-Chamberlain of the Household)

I have been asked to reply. Substantial progress has been made in the reduction of the numbers of civil cases awaiting trial in the High Court. The questions of the number of judges required for the efficient discharge of the work of the King's Bench Division and whether a shorthand note should be taken of cases tried in the High Court are under the consideration of the Commission presided over by Earl Peel.


I am much obliged for that answer, but do the Government not recognise that the cheap and expeditious trial of cases is a matter of the first importance, and, seeing that judges earn more in fees than their salaries, is there any reason why there should be these hundreds of cases awaiting trial?


I will communicate that suggestion of my hon. Friend.

49. Lieut. - Colonel Sir ARNOLD WILSON

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to an article under the signature of Lord Hewart of Bury, as Lord Chief Justice of England and a signatory of the treaty of December, 1921, between Great Britain and Ireland, commenting upon and explaining the purport and possible effects of recent decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council announced on 6th June; and whether he will invite His Majesty's Judges voluntarily to apply to themselves the restrictions in respect of communications to the Press adopted by His Majesty's advisers and announced to this House on 3rd March, 1927, and which bind all civil servants?


My attention has been called to this article. I do not propose to communicate to His Majesty's Judges in the sense suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend. It is obviously undesirable that His Majesty's Judges should write for publication on matters of political controversy or on questions upon which they may have to decide judicially, but the limit of action in this respect must be left to the good sense of each individual Judge.

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