§ 18 Mr. Petherick
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what arrangements each of the Metropolitan Police Courts has made for separating the hearing and determination of domestic proceedings from other business, as provided by Section 2 (1) of the Summary Procedure (Domestic Proceedings) Act, 1937;
498 (2) in which of the Metropolitan Police Courts separate afternoons are set aside for domestic proceedings;
(3) which of the Metropolitan Police Courts act on the principle laid down in paragraph 16 of the Report of the Departmental Committee on Social Services in Courts of Summary Jurisdiction (Cmd. 5122, of 1936), that there should be in every case a right of direct access to the court, and it should be for the court to decide on the facts of each case whether conciliation should be attempted before the legal issues are tried?
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Samuel Hoare)
I am informed by the Chief Magistrate that at only two Metropolitan Police Courts has it been found possible to set aside a whole afternoon each week for the hearing of domestic proceedings, but at every court arrangements have been made for fulfilling the requirements of the Summary Procedure (Domestic Proceedings) Act, 1937. In three courts these cases are heard in a different room from that in which the ordinary business is transacted, and at every Metropolitan Police Court domestic proceedings are heard apart from other cases, either before or after the other business of the court. I am also informed that at all the Metropolitan Police Courts applicants are given direct access to the magistrates, and at nearly all of them it is the magistrate who decides whether or not to suggest conciliation before there is any hearing of the case. At one police court the magistrates leave it to the probation officer to use his discretion in the matter of attempting conciliation before the legal issues are tried.
§ Mr. Petherick
Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the Metropolitan police magistrates are fully aware of and are carrying out their obligations in this respect?
§ Sir S. Hoare
Yes, Sir, I think they certainly are, on the whole. If my hon. Friend has any information which he would like to send to me, I will convey it to the Chief Magistrate.