HL Deb 21 June 1883 vol 280 cc1116-7

called attention to the inconvenience which arises from certain Assizes having been fixed by the judges for the days on which the quarter sessions are by statute required to be held; and asked whether it will be necessary to hold sessions for the trial of prisoners in the same week as that in which assize gaol delivery has taken place?


said, he might explain that the inconveniences to which the noble Earl referred would only occur in three counties—namely, Montgomeryshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire. The fact that certain Assizes had been fixed for Quarter Session day in those counties was due to pure inadvertence; and he need not say that the Judges would be the last to inflict any needless inconvenience on country gentlemen. In ordinary years, moreover, it would not have occurred. The learned Judges who were to attend the Assizes in the counties in question had expressed their willingness to try all the prisoners committed for trial to the Quarter Sessions, or, if it would be more convenient to the magistrates, to postpone the commission day for one day. The Judges would thus either perform the duties of the magistrates, or allow those gentlemen to do their own duties without interference. He would take care that for the future the Judges should be reminded, when the Circuits were selected, that the days for the commencement of the Assizes must be so fixed as not to conflict with the Quarter Sessions. In answer to the second part of the noble Earl's Notice, he had to say that the days for the holding of Quarter Sessions were fixed by Act of Parliament. He feared, therefore, that the Court of Quarter Sessions for Montgomeryshire, to which his noble Friend specially referred, must meet as usual on the chance of there being some business, such as a presentment, to transact. The difficulty which the noble Earl wished to see obviated would only occur in the two or three counties whore the Judges began their Circuits.