HL Deb 15 December 1949 vol 165 cc1637-8

Clause 10, page 7, line 34, at end insert— ("(c) that at the end of that month the borough had a separate commission of the peace and court of quarter sessions, and the Lord Chancellor makes an order under subsection (5) of this section saving the grant to the borough of its commission and quarter sessions.")


My Lords, this is the first of several Amendments which confer upon me a discretion. We discussed this during our debates in this House, and at one stage I myself suggested that I might have a discretion. Your Lordships will remember that having considered it I came back to your Lordships and said that it was the very last thing I desired. I am bound to say that, having considered it again, I still think it is the very last thing I desire. The Commons, however, think that I should be entrusted with this discretion. All I can say is that I shall do my best to exercise in a fair and judicial manner the duty imposed upon me. Although it is a task from which I naturally shrink, yet I think we should be wise to accept this Amendment. I will do the best I can to carry it out in the right spirit. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.— (The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, I take it that we are discussing this Amendment and the Amendment on page 8, line 18. I was one of those who tried to save some of these recorders, especially where they were doing a good deal of work and thereby preventing the county quarter sessions from being overburdened with appeals and cases of indictable offences which might come before them. Although I sympathise with the Lord Chancellor in this, of course this pressure can fall upon him for only a period of two months, and I should imagine that almost all those who have been deprived of their recorder will apply within that time. There may be one or two cases for which we ought to have this Amendment—it would be wrong to mention names—because it is obviously a matter which will have to come before the Lord Chancellor to consider within the terms of the proposal now before us. There are one or two cases in which it will be of great convenience in the countryside, and will help the speedy administration of justice, if the Lord Chancellor has this power and exercises it in their favour. The only other thing I would like to say on this series of Amendments is this. I am glad to think that a suggestion which I made on the Committee stage has been accepted. It was that recorders of these boroughs should consult with chairmen of county quarter sessions to ensure that the holding of these different sessions in the same county is spread over the year, so that fewer prisoners committed to these courts will have to wait long before they have their case tried. I am glad to see that that suggestion of mine has now found its way into the Amendments which we are asked to approve.

On Question, Motion agreed to.