HC Deb 05 June 1947 vol 438 cc357-8
1. Mr. Rees-Williams

asked the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the Government's proposals to reduce the cost of litigation.

The Attorney-General (Sir Hartley Shawcross)

My noble Friend, the Lord Chancellor, has recently appointed two Committees. One of them, presided over by Lord Justice Evershed, is inquiring into the present practice and procedure of the Supreme Court (excluding the practice and procedure in actions for the infringement of patents and in matrimonial proceedings in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court), and considering what reforms should be introduced so as to reduce the cost of litigation, and secure greater efficiency and expedition in the despatch of business; the other Committee, presided over by Mr. Justice Austin Jones is undertaking a similar task with regard to the county courts I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the terms of reference and membership of both Committees.

Mr. Rees-Williams

While I thank the Attorney-General for that reply, and for the action he has taken, may I ask him to bear in mind that at the present moment there is a denial of justice in many cases, and, therefore always to remember the urgency of this matter?

The Attorney-General

Yes, Sir, that will certainly be looked at.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Arising out of the reply, will my right hon. and learned Friend say whether the Committee are inquiring into and dealing with the cost of the jury system, and the differentiation between special and common juries?

The Attorney-General

I have already announced in this House the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to the differentiation between special and common juries. Other aspects of the case of trial by jury may, no doubt, be within the purview of the Committee.

Following is the information: