HL Deb 14 December 1908 vol 198 cc1205-7


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, the object of this Bill is to amend and consolidate the law regulating procedure in summary Criminal Courts in Scotland. At present the procedure in the Sheriff's Summary Criminal Court and in the Justice of Peace Court is regulated by the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Acts, 1864 and 1881, while the procedure in the Burgh Police Courts is regulated by the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, and in some of the larger towns—Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Greenock—by Local Police Acts. The Bill proposes to repeal the Summary Jurisdiction Acts of 1864 and 1881, and the procedure clauses in the Burgh Police Act of 1892, and in the Local Police Acts, and to substitute one common code of summary criminal jurisdiction. The Bill also proposes to repeal, too, the Summary Prosecutions Appeals (Scotland) Act, 1875, which regulates appeals to the High Court of Justiciary by way of stated case in summary criminal cases. The provisions of that Act are embodied in this Bill in an amended and simplified form. I should perhaps also state that one of the advantages of the measure is to supersede municipal statutes, which deal with procedure in summary causes by a general Act, advantage being at the same time taken of all the steps which the private Acts have proved by experience to be really effective improvements and to work these into the general law of Scotland. This is in entire accord with the feelings of the Judges, and, from the point of view of general administration as well as codification is felt will be extremely helpful.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(Lord Herschell.)


My Lords, I think there can be no possible objection to the Second Reading of this Bill. I think that in all probability, after the care which has been taken in regard to this Bill in Scotland, it may pass with very little or no Amendment. It proceeds upon the Report of a Departmental Committee appointed by myself some years ago, of which successive Lords Advocate have been chairmen. People in Scotland are as nearly as possible unanimous about this Bill. The Judges are in favour of it, as well as the Faculty of Advocates and the Procurators' Society. I know of only one point of difference. There is still an open question as to the prerogative of county councils and municipal councils through their officers to prosecute for certain statutory offences and to get the benefit of the penalty. I think it would be much better if the Law Officers of the Crown in Scotland could see that the procurators fiscal prosecuted in these cases, and then all questions about the fines would fall to the ground. I cordially support the Second Reading of the Bill.

On Question, Bill read 2a., and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Wednesday next.