Free Legal Assistance.

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 23rd June 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

asked the Attorney-General whether the new scheme of legal aid for the Army will be available to all ranks; and why it has been deemed necessary to subject the applicants for this form of assistance to a means test?

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

As my right hon. and learned Friend stated in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Moelwyn Hughes) on 29th April, a public statement on the details of the proposed scheme for free legal aid for the lower ranks of the Army will be made by my Noble Friend as soon as it is ready to be put into operation. I understand that the scheme will cover all ranks up to and including the rank of sergeant, but that it is not intended to include those few cases where the soldier happens to have substantial private means and is in a position to pay for legal advice.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

In view of the fact that the Welfare Department of the Army issued a statement over three weeks ago announcing that this service would only be for men who have no means apart from their Army pay, would the hon. and learned Gentleman not compare that with the trade unions, who give legal advice free of charge to members, irrespective of their earnings, and will he accordingly give the same consideration to men in the Army as the trade unions give to their members?

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

I am sure that my Noble Friend will take that into consideration with any other helpful suggestions he may receive.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Why is the hon. and learned Gentleman's Noble Friend concerned? Is not this a matter for the War Office?

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

In order that the free legal aid may be efficacious it is necessary to employ lawyers and to secure the co-operation of the legal profession. Therefore my Noble Friend must be concerned.