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Lord Chancellor (Salary)

Part of Schedule 16 – in the House of Commons at 11:50 pm on 10th April 1989.

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Photo of Mr Alex Carlile Mr Alex Carlile , Montgomery 11:50 pm, 10th April 1989

The Lord Chancellor's efficiency is apparently being judged by his own lights, in the accessibility to the law that he gives to the consumer.

Now let us assume for a moment that the Green Papers are turned into legislation in some way in the next Session.

Despite what I have said so far, in that event it seems that the Lord Chancellor will be given far too small a salary increase. If the Green Papers become law, he should be given far more; for look at the extra burden that he is taking upon himself. He is taking control of the ethics of the legal profession. No Government in the history of the country—apart for the Government of Oliver Cromwell, if they merit the name Government—have sought to take control of the ethics of the legal profession. If the Lord Chancellor is to take that responsibility on himself and if the Government intend to destroy the independence of the Bar and other advocates by telling the profession what its professional ethics should be, he probably merits £10,000 more a year in his salary for the extra responsibility involved.

I venture to suggest that when there has been mature reflection, the Government and the Lord Chancellor—who is a thoughtful man—will decide that it would be a dangerous step for the Government to dictate to lawyers whether, for example, they can cross-examine police officers, or whether they will be able to exercise the independence shown in the constituency of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) during the miners' strike, as independence that barristers exercised so effectively in cases concerning miners. The hon. Gentleman knows that well.