20 DECEMBER 1935, Page 3

The Trials of Peers Lord Sankey has lost no time

in giving notice of a resolution in the House of Lords submitting that " the present system of trial of peers by peers has outlived its usefulness." No one will dispute the justice of the motion, and . it can hardly be doubted that it will be carried with virtual unanimity. The picturesque and • slow-moving ceremony revived for the de Clifford trial resulted in the. rapid acquittal, of the defendant at a cost of about i7'00 to the tax-payer, and a not negligible expense to noble lords who were called on to apparel themselves suitably to the occasion. The archaic pro- cedure has historical origins of some interest, but it is obviously undesirable in these days that on a criminal charge distinction should be drawn between a peer and a commoner. Some picturesque anachronisms are innocuous ; this one, when its implications are con- sidered, is not, and in any case there is nothing to be said for the substitution of the cumbrous for the simple. The suggestion has, indeed, been made that when a Peer is tried in an ordinary court the jurymen should be members of his own House, but that, again, would create a distinction for which there is no valid ground.