HC Deb 15 March 1938 vol 333 cc196-7
22. Mr. R. Gibson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the facts that, during the year 1937, out of the 4,867 men and 4,334 women on the jury lists for the City of Edinburgh (including Leith) 1,800 men and 1,584 women, respectively, were cited for jury service, and, of the 475 men and 527 women on the jury lists for Midlothian, 330 men and 321 women, respectively, were cited for jury service; and there is a widespread feeling among these persons that the calls on them for jury service are unduly burdensome; and whether he will consider the desirability of amending the law by abolishing the property qualification as a basis for liability for jury service?

Mr. Elliot

I am aware that the proportion of citations for jury service to the numbers of names on the jury lists for the City of Edinburgh and for Midlothian is considerable, though the numbers of persons available for jury service in the year 1937 were somewhat greater than the numbers stated, which relate to the month of October, and the numbers cited include persons excused from service on cause shown. It does not appear, on the information available to me, that there is widespread complaint on the subject or that it is desirable to amend the law in respect of the qualification for jury service.

Mr. Gibson

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that letters appear in the Press in Edinburgh from time to time complaining of the demands of jury service and that on the figures given, 70 per cent. of the men on the jury lists in Midlothian were called up during that period; and does not that situation call for a remedy?