Summary Procedure (Domestic Proceedings) Act 1937

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1937 c. 58
Year1937


Summary Procedure (Domestic Proceedings) Act, 1937

(1 Edw. 8 & 1 Geo. 6.) CHAPTER 58.

An Act to amend the law with respect to the determination by justices of disputes in matters of matrimony, bastardy and the guardianship of infants and other similar matters; to extend the duties of probation officers; and for purposes connected therewith.

[30th July 1937]

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 Constitution of courts of summary jurisdiction for domestic proceedings.

1 Constitution of courts of summary jurisdiction for domestic proceedings.

1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, courts of summary jurisdiction sitting for the purpose of the hearing and determination of any of the proceedings specified in the Schedule to this Act (in this Act referred to as ‘domestic proceedings’) shall be constituted of not more than three justices of the peace, and shall be so constituted as to include, so far as practicable, both a man and a woman.

S-2 Sittings of courts of summary jurisdiction for domestic proceedings.

2 Sittings of courts of summary jurisdiction for domestic proceedings.

(1) The business of courts of summary jurisdiction shall, so far as is consistent with the due dispatch of business, be arranged in such manner as may be requisite for separating the hearing and determination of domestic proceedings from other business.

(2) No person shall be present during the hearing and determination by a court of summary jurisdiction of any domestic proceedings, except—

(a ) members and officers of the court;

(b ) parties to the case before the court, their solicitors and counsel, witnesses and other persons directly concerned in that case, and other persons whom either party desires to be present;

(c ) solicitors and counsel in attendance for other cases;

(d ) representatives of newspapers or news agencies;

(e ) any other person whom the court may permit to be present, so, however, that permission shall not be withheld in the case of a person who appears to the court to have adequate grounds for attendance.

(3) During the taking in any domestic proceedings of any evidence of an indecent character, the court may, if it thinks necessary in the interest of the administration of justice or of public decency, direct that all or any persons, not being members or officers of the court or parties to the case, their solicitors or counsel, or other persons directly concerned in the case, be excluded from the court during the taking of that evidence.

(4) Where the same parties are parties to domestic proceedings and to proceedings for the enforcement of an order made under any of the Acts mentioned in the Schedule to this Act, or for the variation of any provision of an order made under any of those Acts for the payment of money, and the proceedings are heard together by a court of summary jurisdiction, the provisions of the two last foregoing subsections shall, unless the court otherwise determines, have effect as if the whole of those proceedings were domestic proceedings.

(5) The powers conferred on a court of summary jurisdiction by this section shall be in addition and without prejudice to any other powers of the court to hear proceedings in camer.

(6) Nothing in this section shall affect the exercise by a court of summary jurisdiction of the power to direct that witnesses shall be excluded from the court until they are called for examination.

S-3 Newspaper reports of domestic proceedings.

3 Newspaper reports of domestic proceedings.

(1) It shall not be lawful for the proprietor, editor or publisher of a newspaper or periodical to print or publish therein, or cause or procure to be printed or published therein, in relation to any domestic proceedings, any particulars other than the following, that is to say:—

(a ) the names, addresses and occupations of the parties and witnesses;

(b ) the grounds of the application, and a concise statement of the charges, defences and countercharges in support of which evidence has been given;

(c ) submissions on any point of law arising in the course of the proceedings and the decision of the court thereon;

(d ) the decision of the court, and any observations made by the court in giving its decision.

(2) If any person acts in contravention of the provisions of this section, he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding four months or to a tine not exceeding one hundred pounds, or to both such imprisonment and fine.

(3) No prosecution for an offence under this section shall be begun by any person without the consent of the Attorney-General.

(4) Nothing in this section shall apply to the printing or publishing of any matter in any newspaper or periodical of a technical character bona fide intended for circulation among members of the legal or medical professions.

S-4 Procedure in certain domestic proceedings.

4 Procedure in certain domestic proceedings.

(1) Where in any domestic proceedings under the Summary Jurisdiction (Separation and Maintenance) Acts, 1895 to...

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