HC Deb 10 November 1943 vol 393 cc1175-6W
Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Pownall

asked the Attorney-General whether his attention has been called to the grave congestion in divorce courts; and what action it is proposed to take to expedite the hearing of cases?

The Attorney-General

The present congestion of business in the divorce courts is due to the increased number of petitions which have been put down for trial, either as contested or uncontested cases, mainly during the last 18 months, and there is no ground known to me for assuming that the flow of applications of this nature is likely to fall off, at any rate for some considerable time. The division of the High Court which deals with these matters also deals with Admiralty and probate cases and many Admiralty cases in war time are especially urgent. The judges of the division have made, and continue to make, special efforts to cope with the divorce list and not without some success. Nevertheless, in the view of my Noble Friend the Lord Chancellor, there is no remedy for the delay in disposing of many of these cases other than the provision of additional judges for the purpose. My Noble Friend recently appointed a committee to consider whether the trial of defended matrimonial causes in the provnces, instead of in London, would not help to relieve the strain and be on other grounds an improvement in our procedure. This committee has just reported, and its report is under consideration.