HC Deb 15 March 1939 vol 345 cc409-10
78. Mr. Liddalls

asked the Attorney-General approximately, how many cases are now due for trial in London and the provinces, and how many of them have been in the list for more than six months, as compared with the 2,000 cases at 1st January, some of which had been in the list for nine months; and will he now appoint several additional Commissioners of Assize to enable justice to be obtained within reasonable time, notwithstanding the help already given by the two new judges of the King's Bench assisted by three Lords Justices?

The Attorney-General (Sir Donald Somervell)

On 6th March 1,307 cases were awaiting trial in the King's Bench Division, out of which 140 cases had been entered for more than six months. Of these latter, 26 would have been tried at an earlier date had they not been postponed at the request of the parties. I have not the figures of cases set down for trial in the provinces but I do not believe there are at the present time arrears in these lists, and I have therefore no reason to suppose there is any case in these lists entered for more than six months. As I stated in reply to the hon. Member for West Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Sir J. Leech) on 15th February, I cannot adopt the suggestion made by my hon. Friend. I have every hope that the measures described in the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for West Newcastle-upon-Tyne will be effectual, and it is not proposed to take any further step in the matter until a fair trial has been given to those measures.