Mr. David Adams
asked the Home Secretary what use has been made in the country, outside the London area, of the provisions under the Summary Proceedings (Domestic Procedure) Act, 1937; in 1224W particular, which courts throughout the country now hold special sessions for the hearing of matrimonial cases; to what extent the practice is prevalent of allowing probation officers to see all persons before these persons have access to the courts; and whether, in view of the recommendations of the departmental committee on the Social Services in Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, 1936, he will take steps to see that there shall be in every case a right of direct access to the court?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I cannot say precisely what steps have been taken by the many courts of summary jurisdiction outside London to separate the hearing and determination of domestic proceedings from other business. The attention of the justices was specially drawn to the requirement of the new Act in the Home Office circular of 6th September, 1937, and I have no reason to doubt that it is being carried out. Prominence was also given in the Home Office circular of 3oth July, 1936, to a recommendation of the Social Services Committee that applicants in matrimonial cases should be encouraged to approach the court direct and not through the probation officer. My right hon. Friend has no authority to lay down any rule, but I believe there is growing appreciation of the wisdom of the course recommended by the committee.