Oral Answers to Questions — Legal Advice Scheme

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th October 1970.

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Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester North West 12:00 am, 27th October 1970

asked the Attorney-General if he will take steps to increase the availability of legal advice to those who require it.

Photo of Sir Elwyn Jones Sir Elwyn Jones , West Ham South

asked the Attorney-General when the scheme for legal advice and assistance recommended by the Legal Aid Advisory Committee will be implemented.

Photo of Mr Peter Rawlinson Mr Peter Rawlinson , Epsom

The Legal Advice (Amendment) Regulations, 1970, which came into operation on 1st August, improve the financial condition on which legal advice is available. Further improvements in the Legal Advice Scheme must take their priority in the general context of the need to keep down public expenditure.

Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester North West

Meantime, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider making funds available to assist in the setting up of more neighbourhood law centres such as that which exists and works so well in Notting Hill?

Photo of Mr Peter Rawlinson Mr Peter Rawlinson , Epsom

I appreciate the importance of the hon. Gentleman's point. Nevertheless, I must also consider public expenditure and the need to contain public expenditure.

Photo of Sir Elwyn Jones Sir Elwyn Jones , West Ham South

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree with the statement of the present Lord Chancellor that the advisory scheme to which my Question refers fills an admitted need and with the view of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee that the scheme requires urgent attention because otherwise a large proportion of the public will continue to be deprived of a solicitor's services? Is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman's most disappointing answer a precursor of the reactionary package about which we shall be hearing shortly?

Photo of Mr Peter Rawlinson Mr Peter Rawlinson , Epsom

The right hon. and learned Gentleman will have to await what is to come in a few minutes. Advice is important, but legal aid also is important. The legal aid provisions were improved only very recently and the new provisions will come into effect in November. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows, we improved on the principles which were agreed by the previous Administration. There is no call for an immediate reply to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.