HC Deb 16 February 1948 vol 447 cc825-6
47. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Attorney-General when the recommenda- tions of the Denning Committee on Procedure in Matrimonial Causes will be finally put into effect.

The Attorney-General (Sir Hartley Shawcross)

As my hon. and gallant Friend knows, the Second and Third Reports of the Denning Committee contain recommendations, some of which could only be implemented by legislation, while others could be implemented by Rule of Court or by administrative reform. As regards those recommendations for which legislation is required, I cannot hold out any hope of legislation in the immediate future. As regards those procedural reforms which could be carried out by Rule of Court, this is a matter entirely within the province of the independent Rule Committee of the Supreme Court, which alone has the right to approve alterations in procedure. The procedural recommendations of the Denning Committee, which have not yet been carried out, are, however, about to be taken under consideration by the Rules Committee. Other reforms recommended by the Denning Committee are being brought into operation by administrative action as opportunity offers, and I am glad to announce that, notwithstanding the difficulties, it has been possible to arrange for substituted service in poor persons cases to be effected by the issue of newspaper advertisements at a greatly reduced rate on the lines recommended in the Second Report.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Will the Attorney-General continue to press for legislation as soon as possible, in particular to give effect to the proposal that separation for seven years should be a ground for divorce?

The Attorney-General

These important and difficult matters will certainly not he lost sight of, but I am afraid that I cannot hold out any promise of early legislation.