HC Deb 25 February 1965 vol 707 cc579-80
3. Mr. William Wells

asked the Attorney-General what consideration he has given to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Ward against James, on the matter of assessment of damages by juries, as explained in the case of Hodges against Harland and Wolff, Limited; and what action Her Majesty's Government will take as a result.

The Solicitor-General

I regret that I have nothing to add to the Answer which my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General gave to a Question by the right hon. and learned Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir J. Hobson) on 9th February.

Mr. Well

Will my hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that it is important to maintain the constitutional right of the subject to trial by jury, even at the expence of the convenience of those who have to meet the claims and advise on them, in obtaining uniformity of treatment?

The Solicitor-General

I am not sure that I accept that comment, but I would remind my hon. and learned Friend that, as recently as 9th February, my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General informed the House that the Government recognise that the present state of the law and practice relating to the assessment of damages for personal injuries is unsatisfactory. We intend that there should be an inquiry into this matter, but my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor is now considering what form that inquiry should take.

Mr. Hector Hughes

In view of the latter part of my hon. and learned Friend's reply, will he take into account the constructive observations which were made by members of the Bench and other authoritative persons in the legal profession with a view to making some progress in this very important matter which affects not only litigants but many other people who have been injured and who have claims to be adjudicated upon?

The Solicitor-General

I shall always be willing to consider any representations made by my hon. and learned Friend.