31 JANUARY 1880, Page 13


on the above subject in last week's Spectator gives expression to views which are now almost universally held on the points in question. To the oft-repeated complaints of the Judges that important legal business is stopped while they are perambulating the country, the true answer is, as you maintain, that the remedy is obvious. Let the jurisdiction of the inferior Courts be enlarged. I speak with considerable ex- perience, both of the Assizes and the Quarter-Sessions, and can safely assert that, with very few exceptions, the Court of Quarter-Sessions is quite competent to embrace the whole of the ordinary criminal business now transacted at the Assizes. The distinction between burglary and house-breaking is purely artificial. Arson is an offence proved without much difficulty, and punished without great severity, unless under exceptional circumstances ; and the attempts to commit many serious crimes which are triable at Quarter-Sessions are often quite as difficult to unravel as the crimes them- selves, which are only triable at the Assizes. This question of the enlargement of the jurisdiction of the inferior Courts is viewed with favour by the majority of the Judges ; and though in such matters English opinion moves slowly, yet the day is probably not far distant when some such course will be adopted. The appointment of paid legal Chairmen of Quarter- Sessions, though possibly looming in the distance, raises rather a large question, into which I will not now enter, but confine myself to expressing a conviction that the Quarter-Sessions, even as now constituted, could relieve the over-worked Judges, and satisfy the requirements of justice.—I am, Sir, &c., A CHAIRMAN OF QUARTER-SESSIONS.