A reversal by the Court of Appeal on Monday of
the decision pronounced by Baron Huddleston and Mr. Justice Grove on the case of the Lewes Magistrates who were declared by those Judges to have given an order for the apprehension of Mr. Hillman as a lunatic, without jurisdiction, will excite general surprise. The reversal is the more remarkable because the Lord Chief Justice gave judgment in favour of confirming the decision of the Court below, so that two Judges, Sir James Hannan and Lord Justice Lindley (forming the majority of the Court of Appeal) have in fact reversed the decision of three Judges, the Lord Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Grove, and Baron Haddleston, who concurred in holding that the Lewes Magistrates gave an order for the detention of Mr. Hillman without having so complied with the conditions of the statute as to have any jurisdiction in the case. The Lord Chief Justice stated the case with great force. "The statute," he said, "authorises interference as to persons not dangerous to themselves or others, but who would yet properly be the subjects of proper care and control. But then, liberty is only to be interfered with as the statute directs. And what does it direct? First, there is to be an information on oath to a Justice, who is to make an examination of the alleged lunatic, or under his hand make an order authorising the medical man to make an examination and report to him ; and then there is to be an order under his hand directing the alleged lunatic to be brought before two Justices. In the present case, none of these things were done ; and I am of opinion that these are conditions precedent to the exercise of the jurisdiction, as a protection, carefully enacted, in defence of the liberty of the subject, and that a person is not to be brought before Magistrates unless those conditions have been fulfilled."