HL Deb 16 January 1964 vol 254 cc714-5

3.36 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, I should like first to express my thanks to your Lordships for the reception which you have given to this Bill. I said on Second Reading that I hoped it would be received with the same "unmixed applause" that had greeted the Bill introduced by my predecessor, Lord Brougham, establishing the Central Criminal Court. While I cannot claim that that has been the case, at least I can say that the Bill has not met with serious criticism, though we have had interesting discussions on one or two matters. I am grateful to your Lordships for the consideration that has been given to this measure.

My Lords, it is my belief that this Bill makes a real contribution towards the more efficient administration of justice in London, both by the removal of obsolete machinery and by the introduction of new ideas. We are bound to adapt our system of courts to Greater London, but the Bill does more than this. Under the Bill, the Central Criminal Court will not only have jurisdiction in Greater London, but will work more speedily under the new system of four sessions; the new courts of quarter sessions will not only serve Greater London, but will be able regularly to enjoy the services of county court judges; and in inner London there will be an integrated system in which stipendiary and lay magistrates will work together. These are just examples—important examples—of what the Bill is doing.

The miscellaneous matters with which the Bill is concerned are also valuable. I think we are all glad to know, for instance, that really adequate provision will be made for indemnifying justices and justices' clerks when proceedings are taken against them for acts done by them reasonably and in good faith.

I have not finished thinking about this Bill, and I am open to further suggestions for its improvement. As I have said before, I am anxious to find better names for the London commission areas, and I should be most grateful to any of your Lordships who can help me in this search. My Lords, the happy journey which this Bill has enjoyed in your Lordships' House is, I am sure, an augury for its success in another place. I beg to move that this Bill be read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Bill read 3a; an Amendment (privilege) made; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.