Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1933 c. 36


Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933

(23 & 24 Geo. 5.) CHAPTER 36.

An Act to abolish grand juries and amend the law as to the presentment of indictments; to provide for the summary determination of questions as to liability for death duties; to make provision for alternative procedure for the recovery of Crown debts and to enable proceedings by the Crown to be instituted in county courts in appropriate cases; to amend the procedure as to certain prerogative writs and as to trials by jury in the High Court; to amend the law as to the payment of costs by and to the Crown; to provide for the further delegation of the jurisdiction of the Master in Lunacy; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.

[28th July 1933]

B e it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Abolition of grand juries.

1 Abolition of grand juries.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section grand juries are hereby abolished, but where a bill of indictment has been signed in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the indictment shall be proceeded with in the same manner as it would have been proceeded with before the commencement of this Act if it had been found by a grand jury, and all enactments and rules of law relating to procedure in connection with indictable offences shall have effect subject only to such modifications as are rendered necessary by the provisions of this section and of the section next following.

(2) Where at the commencement of this Act any person has obtained the direction or consent in writing of a judge of the High Court for the preferment of an indictment under the Vexatious Indictments Act 1859 , the direction or consent shall have effect as if it were a direction or consent for the preferment of a bill of indictment under this Act.

(3) After the commencement of this Act no precept shall be issued for the summoning of grand jurors nor shall any grand jurors be summoned, and if any such precept or summons has been issued before the commencement of this Act it shall be void so far as it relates to the summoning of grand jurors to attend at any court after the commencement of this Act.

(4) The provisions of this section, and of the section next following, shall not apply with respect to a bill of indictment preferred before or to an indictment found by a grand jury of the county of London and county of Middlesex by virtue of any of the enactments specified in the First Schedule to this Act, but where within the time limited by the Middlesex Grand Juries Act 1872 the Master of the Crown Office has received notice to the effect that it is intended to prefer a bill of indictment by virtue of any of those enactments and has given notice to the sheriff accordingly, a grand jury of the county of London and county of Middlesex shall be summoned and such a bill of indictment may be preferred and proceedings taken thereon in all respects as if this Act had not been passed.

S-2 Procedure for indictment of offenders.

2 Procedure for indictment of offenders.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a bill of indictment charging any person with an indictable offence may be preferred by any person before a court in which the person charged may lawfully be indicted for that offence, and where a bill of indictment has been so preferred the proper officer of the court shall, if he is satisfied that the requirements of the next following subsection have been complied with, sign the bill, and it shall thereupon become an indictment and be proceeded with accordingly:

Provided that if the judge or chairman of the court is satisfied that the said requirements have been complied with, he may, on the application of the prosecutor or of his own motion, direct the proper officer to sign the bill and the bill shall be signed accordingly.

(2) Subject as hereinafter provided no bill of indictment charging any person with an indictable offence shall be preferred unless either—

( a ) the person charged has been committed for trial for the offence; or

( b ) the bill is preferred by the direction or with the consent of a judge of the High Court or pursuant to an order made under section nine of the Perjury Act 1911 :

Provided that—

(i) where the person charged has been committed for trial, the bill of indictment against him may include, either in substitution for or in addition to counts charging the offence for which he was committed, any counts founded on facts or evidence disclosed in any examination or deposition taken before a justice in his presence, being counts which may lawfully be joined in the same indictment;

(ii) a charge of a previous conviction of an offence or of being a habitual criminal or a habitual drunkard may, notwithstanding that it was not included in the committal or in any such direction or consent as aforesaid, be included in any bill of indictment.

(3) If a bill of indictment preferred otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of the last foregoing subsection has been signed by the proper officer of the court, the indictment shall be liable to be quashed:

Provided that—

( a ) if the bill contains several counts, and the said provisions have been complied with as respects one or more of them, those counts only that were wrongly included shall be quashed under this subsection; and

( b ) where a person who has been committed for trial is convicted on any indictment or any count of an indictment, that indictment or count shall not be quashed under this subsection in any proceedings on appeal, unless application was made at the trial that it should be so quashed.

(4) Where at any assizes no judge of the High Court is present, the direction or consent of the commissioner of assize who is acting, or is to act, as judge at those assizes, shall for the purposes of paragraph ( b ) of subsection (2) of this section have the like effect as if it had been given by a judge of the High Court.

(5) For the purposes of this section the expression ‘judge or chairman’ includes a deputy recorder, deputy chairman, or acting chairman, and the expression ‘proper officer’ means in relation to a court of assize the clerk of assize, and in relation to a court of quarter sessions the clerk of the peace, and also includes in relation to any court such officer as may be prescribed by rules made under this section.

(6) The Lord Chancellor may make rules for carrying this section into effect and in particular for making provision as to the manner in which and the time at which bills of indictment are to be preferred before any court and the manner in which application is to be made for the consent of a judge of the High Court or of a commissioner of assize for the preferment of a bill of indictment.

(7) The Vexatious Indictments Act 1859 shall cease to have effect, but save as aforesaid nothing in this section shall affect any enactment restricting the right to prosecute in particular classes of case.

(8) The provisions of any enactment passed before the commencement of this Act shall have effect subject to the adaptations and modifications specified in the Second Schedule to this Act.

S-3 Summary determination by High Court of liability as to death duties.

3 Summary determination by High Court of liability as to death duties.

Any person against whom a claim has been made by the Crown for the payment of any death duties which have, or are alleged to have, become chargeable by reason of the death of any person, or who has reasonable grounds for apprehending that a claim may be made against him in respect of any death duties which have, or are alleged to have, become so chargeable, may, subject to and in accordance with rules of court, apply in a summary manner to the High Court to have it determined whether he is accountable for or chargeable with, or is or may thereafter become liable to pay, those duties, and, if so, to have the extent of his liability determined, and the Court shall have power to hear any application made under this section and to make such order thereon as seems proper.

S-4 Proceedings by the Crown.

4 Proceedings by the Crown.

(1) Subject to and in accordance with such rules of court as may after the passing of this Act be made under section ninety-nine of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925 , any debt due to the Crown may, without prejudice to the recovery thereof by means of an information in the High Court, be recovered by proceedings instituted by writ of summons....

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