HC Deb 17 July 1941 vol 373 cc757-8W
Sir R. Gower

asked the Attorney-General whether his attention has been called to the statement made at Maidstone Assizes by Mr. Justice Humphreys, regarding the law which requires cases of bigamy to be tried only at assizes and the Central Criminal Court; and whether he will consider the desirability of introducing legislation extending the jurisdiction of magisterial courts to such cases?

The Attorney-General

This matter was considered when the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1938, was before Parliament. That Act as introduced proposed that this offence should be triable at any court of quarter sessions which is presided over by a legally qualified chairman. After discussion this proposal was deleted by an Amendment moved in another place. It would not, I think, be an appropriate jurisdiction to confer on magisterial courts. My Noble Friend the Lord Chancellor realises that different views are held on this question, but does not think that legislation should be introduced to alter the decision taken by Parliament in 1938.