HC Deb 19 December 1946 vol 431 cc2143-4
1. Mr. Driberg

asked the Attorney-General if he will consider revising, in the light of modern circumstances, the qualifications required of members of a special jury.

3. Mr. Piratin

asked the Attorney General whether he will introduce at an early date legislation to abolish the property qualification for special jurors.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Frank Soskice)

The matter referred to has been for some time under consideration, but no final decision has yet been reached.

Mr. Driberg

Do I take it that my hon. and learned Friend is sympathetic to the general view expressed in the Question?

The Solicitor-General

There are arguments which are strongly in favour of it, and there are also arguments the other way round, and all of them will be taken into account.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Have not special juries as at present constituted recently carried out their duties in an admirable fashion?

The Solicitor-General

That is not for me to say.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Does not the answer to that question depend upon what their duties are conceived to be and does my hon. and learned Friend think it possible long to continue in this country two different standards of justice, dependent on a property qualification in the tribunal?

Sir Peter Macdonald

What is wrong with the present system of choosing special juries, by which people are chosen because they are people of substance?

The Solicitor-General

That is the very thing which is said to be wrong with it.

Mr. Piratin

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman tell us when he expects to be able to make some announcement on the findings of the investigation?

The Solicitor-General

As soon as possible.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Is it to be inferred that the Solicitor-General is suggesting that these special juries, in recent actions, did not abide by the oath they took?

The Solicitor-General

I make no such suggestion.