48 Clause 23, page 20, line 33, leave out 'one' and insert 'three'.
49 Clause 23, page 20, line 36, leave out 'one juror' and insert 'three jurors'.
My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 48 and 49 en bloc. This amendment was made in another place in the light of concern, expressed in both Houses, that the Government's proposal to reduce the number of peremptory challenges of jurors from five to one might lead to an increase in the number of challenges on cause shown. It seems a reasonable compromise to allow three peremptory challenges; five is certainly too many, since it allows the jury to be sifted by counsel's superficial view of their likely prejudice for or against his client; and, on reconsideration, we agree that one challenge may be too few. I hope that this amendment will be acceptable to the House, and to those noble Lords among whom was numbered the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, who proposed such an amendment when the Bill was considered before your Lordships in Committee. I beg to move.
Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendments.—( The Earl of Mansfield.)
My Lords, as early as January I suggested that this provision in the Bill was wrong. In my absence my noble friend Lord Mishcon moved an amendment to the effect of the present amendment and the noble Earl persuaded those behind him to troop through the Lobby in substantial numbers to defeat the proposal which is now recommended by him to the House. I am glad that he belatedly acknowledges the reasonableness of what we then proposed, and I hope that the House will accept this amendment.
On Question, Motion agreed to.