Devolution

Oral Answers to Questions — European Community – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st January 1976.

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Photo of Mr George Thompson Mr George Thompson , Galloway 12:00 am, 21st January 1976

asked the Lord Advocate what discussions he has had with the legal profession concerning the White Paper on Devolution.

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

I have not, as yet, had formal discussions with the legal profession on the White Paper. However, in response to the Government's invitation, observations on the proposals contained in the White Paper have been received from the judges and from the Law Society of Scotland and the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates has submitted preliminary views on certain aspects of the Government's proposals. We are very grateful for these replies, which are being carefully studied.

Photo of Mr George Thompson Mr George Thompson , Galloway

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us how the Gov- ernment will respond to section 9(9) of the Law Society memorandum, which suggests that the House of Lords should travel to Scotland to hear Scottish appeals? Would he not agree that a few breaths of clear Edinburgh air would do the most eminent legal minds a considerable amount of good and, apart from refreshing them, would make justice less costly for appellants in the supreme court?

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

I do not think that I want to go beyond my original reply. The memorandum and all its details are being carefully considered.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn Sir Nicholas Fairbairn , Kinross and West Perthshire

Is the right hon. And learned Gentleman seriously telling the House that the White Paper on devolution and the proposals about the Law Officers were prepared without consultation with the legal profession? Is that not typical of the incompetence with which this ridiculous scheme was framed?

Photo of Mr Ronald Murray Mr Ronald Murray , Edinburgh Leith

The answer to the hon. And learned Member is in the negative.