Royal Commission on Capital Punishment: Evidence and Papers

HO 301
Royal Commission on Capital Punishment: Evidence and Papers

Papers of the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment appointed by the Home Secretary, to consider whether the rule of capital punishment for murder should be modified or limited. The files contain minutes of meetings, evidence, committee papers and correspondence.

Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Legal status:
Public Record
Royal Commission on Capital Punishment, 1949-1953
Physical description:
14 file(s)
Access conditions:
Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Administrative / biographical background:

The Royal Commission was appointed by the Home Secretary on 4 May 1949 under the Chairmanship of Sir Ernest Gowers GCB, GBE. Its terms of reference were "to consider and report whether liability under the criminal law in Great Britain to suffer capital punishment for murder should be limited or modified, and if so, to what extent and by what means, for how long and under what conditions persons who would otherwise have been liable to suffer capital punishment should be detained, and what changes in the existing law and the prison system would be required; and to inquire into and take account of the position in those countries whose experience and practice may throw light on these questions." These did not include the question as to whether capital punishment should be retained or abolished.

The Report (Cmd.8932) was published in September 1953; it did not lead to any changes in legislation.

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