HL Deb 15 March 1949 vol 161 cc368-73

6.12 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Chorley.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DROGHEDA in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Payments in respect of jury service.

1.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, persons who serve as jurors shall be entitled to be paid, in accordance with prescribed scales and subject to any prescribed conditions.—

(b) compensation for loss of earnings which they would otherwise have made or additional expense (other than expense on account of travelling or subsistence) to which they would not otherwise have been subject, being loss or expense necessarily suffered or incurred for the purpose of enabling them to serve as jurors:

Provided that the amount which may be paid to a person by virtue of paragraph (b) of this subsection in respect of his services as a juror on any one day shall not exceed—

  1. (i) where the period of time over which earnings are lost or additional expense is incurred is not more than four hours, the sum of ten shillings; or
  2. (ii) where the said period of time is more than four hours, the sum of twenty shillings.

VISCOUNT SIMON moved, in subsection (1) (b), after "additional" to insert, "loss or." The noble Viscount said: I must apologise to your Lordships, and especially to the noble Lord opposite, for not having put down on the Paper a small Amendment which I should like to have considered. It is to Clause 1, page 1, line 14, where, I suggest, it would be well worth while considering whether we should not insert after the word "additional" the words "loss or." Perhaps I may explain what is in my mind. Although I do not expect the noble Lord opposite to accept the Amendment straight off, I should be glad if he could say that he thinks it a reasonable proposal and that it will by sympathetically considered. What I am thinking of is the case of a juryman or jurywoman who is what is called "self-employed," the small farmer or shopkeeper who runs a one-man business and who is taken away from his task to serve on a jury—a very necessary duly which, of course, he has to discharge on behalf of us all. I do not feel sure that that kind of case is adequately covered.

If the person is employed and loses earnings, compensation for loss of earnings is provided for. If the person incurs actual additional expense which he would not have incurred if he had not been summoned to serve on the jury, that case also is covered. But it seems to me that there may well be cases which we should wish to cover which do not fall within the description of either "loss of earnings" or "additional expense." Anyone can think of a case which would seem to be a reasonable one to cover. Therefore I wish to suggest that paragraph (b) at the bottom of the first page should read: (b) compensation for loss of earnings which they would otherwise have made or additional loss or expense (other than expense on account of travelling or subsistence) to which they would not otherwise have been subject, being loss or expense necessarily suffered or incurred for the purpose of enabling them to serve as jurors. I will not argue the matter further, but I move the Amendment for the purpose of obtaining the observations—I do not ask for more—of the noble Lord, Lord Chorley. If they are friendly and encouraging observations, I shall be all the better pleased, and then perhaps before the Report stage we can arrive at a conclusion. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 14, after ("additional") insert ("loss or").—(Viscount Simon.)


Naturally, I have every sympathy with the Amendment which has been moved by the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Simon. If it be the fact that the words as they now appear do not enable the juryman who is self-employed to be compensated for his loss, then undoubtedly some words of this kind must be inserted. Looking at it after the noble and learned Viscount spoke to me this afternoon, it seemed to me that the word "earnings" might well cover, say a farmer or shopkeeper. But the noble and learned Viscount is so much more eminent in the way of construing legal documents than I am that I would not for a moment like to say that it is necessarily so. If the noble and learned Viscount cares to withdraw his Amendment now, I will have the matter looked at and consult with the draftsman and with my advisers on the matter.


I am greatly obliged to the noble Lord. He has given me a most reasonable reply. I do not claim any special skill in this matter, as the noble Lord was good enough to suggest, but it does occur to me that, as the Bill is phrased at present, the self-employed person, unless he proves that he has pad money out of his pocket to someone to look after the business while he is away, is completely debarred from obtaining any compensation. I should like to express my satisfaction with the sympathetic reply which the noble Lord has given, and I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clauses 2 to 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 [Special provisions as respects assizes for certain counties]:

LORD CHORLEY moved, in subsection (4) after "county" (where that word occurs a second time) to insert: or at a court of quarter sessions held for that county The noble Lord said: This Amendment and the succeeding one, and indeed all those which appear in my name, are substantially drafting Amendments. They arise out of the fact upon which I commented in answer to an observation by the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, when he said that this Bill was rather more complicated than appeared to be desirable in such a simple matter. I pointed out that there are a number of counties, for instance, which are divided up for the purposes of criminal jurisdiction. One of these is Hampshire, where the Isle of Wight and the County of Southampton form divisions, and the expenses of the Isle of Wight are paid by Southampton and then recovered. In this respect, subsection (4) of Clause 6 deals only with expenses of the assizes at Southampon, and not with the expenses of the quarter sessions—which obviously ought to be covered as well. The Amendment has been tabled in order to ensure that the quarter sessions also are covered. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 19, at end insert "or at a court of quarter sessions held for that county").—(Lord Chorley.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This is an Amendment of a similar kind, dealing again with bringing in quarter sessions. For technical reasons, into which I do not think I need go, it has been felt that the best way is to remove paragraph (b) from subsection (4), and to add some words in Clause 9, which deals with this same problem of the costs at quarter sessions and assizes. By deleting the whole of this paragraph, and by adding in Clause 9 words which I shall move in a moment, the objective is considered to be achieved. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 24, leave out from ("county") to end of line 34.—(Lord Chorley.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 [Consequential amendments of Local Government Act, 1888]:


This is the addition to Clause 9 to which I referred a moment ago. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 29, at end insert ("and references in the Local Government Board's Provisional Order Confirmation (No. 2) Act, 1889 (which contains financial provisions relating to assizes and quarter sessions and other matters for the purposes of which the administrative counties of Southampton and the Isle of Wight are to continue to be one county), to the costs of assizes and quarter sessions shall be construed accordingly").—(Lord Chorley.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 10 to 20 agreed to.

VISCOUNT SIMON moved, after Clause 20, to insert as a new clause: A common jury shall henceforward be known and described as a jury; and a common juror as a juror. The noble and learned Viscount said: Whether my object would be properly achieved by the insertion of a new clause or by some addition to another part of the Bill will no doubt in due course he considered by the noble Lord and those who advise him, if the suggestion contained in my proposal is acceptable. The suggestion was really made in the Second Reading debate by my noble and learned friend Lord du Parcq. He pointed out—and it seemed to me to be a good observation—that it was one thing to classify juries into common juries and special juries when both existed, but that if we were abolishing special juries, as in substance we are doing in this Bill, the proper thing to do was to speak of a common jury as a jury and a common juryman as a juror. I suggest that that is right. So far as I remember, in a criminal court one never speaks about a case being tried by "a judge and a common jury"; it is tried by "a judge and jury." That is because the jury-box is filled with people who are found on what is in fact known as the Common Jury List.

What has to be remembered in this connection is that there are not two separate and opposed lists of people—one set of people who are common jurors and another set who are not common jurors but special jurors. The Common Jury List includes special jurors, and the Special Jury List is only a selection from the larger list of people who are liable to serve on a common jury. If a man is summoned to serve as a juror in a criminal trial at the Old Bailey, he cannot say: "You are not allowed to call on me. I live in a house which is rated at £500 a year." He, like anybody else, has to serve, and quite rightly so. Therefore, as we are making this change, I suggest for consideration that it might be well to consider whether, as we do not have these two species, we should not now call a juryman by the name which is appropriate, without an epithet in front of it. I do not say that the word "common" is at all unclean. All the same, although it may be a matter of argument—I try to be a common man myself—I say it is a good thing to use short language. Really, a juryman is a juryman, and that is all there is to it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, after Clause 20, insert the said new clause.—(Viscount Simon.)


Here, again, I have considerable sympathy with the Amendment which the noble and learned Viscount has moved so eloquently and so reasonably, but it does appear to me that, if we accept this proposal in principle, it may not be possible to make the necessary investigations between now and Report stage. There are obviously various Acts of Parliament, for example, which refer to "common jurors" and "special jurors." There are various Regulations and other things which would be affected by such an Amendment as this. That point will have to be investigated. If we find that it can be looked at and reasonably dealt with in the intervening period, I am sure that my right honourable friend will be prepared to play. However, I cannot give an undertaking. If the noble and learned Viscount will withdraw his Amendment on that understanding, I will see that the question is looked at between now and Report stage.


I cannot ask for more than that. My experience of the draftsman is that he knows everything about where these words occur. I agree that they do occur in the most unlikely places. I am sure that before this Bill was drawn, there was a skilled gentleman who had the whole thing skilfully tabulated. If we can make this change, with an assurance which will come from that gentleman that it will be all right, I think on the whole it will be an improvement. At any rate, it would save a little paper and print. I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Remaining Clauses and Schedules agreed to.

House resumed.