HL Deb 30 July 1957 vol 205 cc271-2

My Lords, on behalf of my noble and learned friend Lord Jowitt. I beg to ask the Question which stands in his name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can make any statement about the progress of the work of the Departmental Committee appointed to consider whether proceedings before examining justices should continue to take place in open court; and whether any restriction should be placed on the publication of reports of such proceedings.]


My Lords, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced the membership and terms of reference of this Committee, which is under the chairmanship of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Tucker, on June 4 last; and he has asked the Committee to complete its work with the minimum of delay. The Committee, which held its first meeting on June 25, has invited certain bodies and persons to submit evidence, and I understand that it will be glad to receive memoranda of evidence from any others who may be in a position to help it. Evidence should be sent to the Secretary, Mr. B. C. Cubbon, Home Office, Whitehall, as soon as possible, and in any case not later than October 1 next. I welcome this opportunity of calling attention to the importance of the Committee's terms of reference, and express the hope that all those bodies and persons who are contemplating offering evidence will undertake its preparation as a matter of urgency.


My Lords, may I thank the noble and learned Viscount for that reply, and express the hope that we shall have a Report from this Committee as quickly as in the case of another Committee which the noble and learned Viscount set up?


My Lords. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, for those words. I am sure that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Tucker, and his colleagues will do their utmost to make their Report a speedy one, but I should like to emphasise what I have said: that they are dependent on getting information from persons who are interested. As there was a great deal of public interest and newspaper interest before this Committee was established, I hope that those who are interested will now rally round and help the Committee.