Legal Aid

Oral Answers to Questions — Lord Chancellor's Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1994.

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Photo of Mr Derek Enright Mr Derek Enright , Hemsworth 12:00 am, 28th November 1994

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what further consideration he has given to the reform of legal aid.

Mr. John M. Taylor:

A number of initiatives are currently in hand for making improvements to the legal aid scheme. The most significant of these is a fundamental review of the scheme.

Photo of Mr Derek Enright Mr Derek Enright , Hemsworth

Can the Minister understand the extreme bitterness of my constituents who are refused legal aid, even though they are on poverty wages, while people such as Ernest Saunders, Asil Nadir and other wealthy crooks are given massive help by his Department and while barristers go on day after day spitting out their profits?

Mr. Taylor:

The hon. Gentleman will take only modest comfort from the fact that we are to issue a paper entitled "Legal Aid for the Apparently Wealthy", as I said earlier. The issues involved should be looked at from first principles, and my efforts will join those of the hon. Gentleman in that spirit.

Photo of Mr Donald Thompson Mr Donald Thompson , Calder Valley

Is my hon. Friend aware that many people come to my advice centres complaining that the people who are proceeding against them are on legal aid, and that they therefore cannot hope to fight successfully against the weight of the state's money?

Mr. Taylor:

A possible part of the original sin of the legal aid system is that there are civil cases in which one party receives legal aid and the other does not. If I had a remedy for that this afternoon, I would certainly offer it to the House. I am well aware of the point that my hon. Friend makes.