2 JANUARY 1932, Page 6

Unnecessary Juries The Surrey magistrates, at their Quarter Sessions on

Monday, did well to urge that grand juries at quarter sessions should be abolished. It may be hoped that other county benches will pass similar resolutions, so as to call public attention to an archaic survival that serves no useful purpose. The grand jury was doubtless of value in the middle ages when, in a sparsely populated country- side, its members might have personal knowledge of offenders or suspects. To-day its function is merely to find " a true bill " or " not a true bill " on each indict. ment brought before it by the legal authorities, the case having already been investigated and sent for trial by a local bench. The jurors, in practice, do as they are told by the official in charge of them, and go away feeling that they have wasted a day. Moreover, all the witnesses concerned in all the cases haVe to be brought to the court, at the ratepayers' expense, in case they should be wanted—as they very rarely are. This absurd farce is played at every quarter sessions, and all concerned have long recognized its futility. On the ground of economy alone, the Lord Chancellor might well take up the question and draft a short Bill to end these wholly superfluous grand juries.

* * * *