Clause 182 - Grant of free legal aid: Northern Ireland

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 16th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:45 pm, 16th January 2003

I beg to move amendment No.172, in

clause 182, page 96, line 9, at end insert

'to which the Criminal Legal Aid (Fixed Payments) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2002 apply.'.

I am indebted once again to the Law Society of Scotland for alerting us to the issue here. I should like to put on the record my thanks not only to the Law Society of Scotland, but to other organisations for keeping an eye on what is happening in our proceedings. As recently as yesterday morning I received a further note from Mr. Michael Clancy, the very helpful director of the Law Society of Scotland, saying that it had received some reassurances from the Home Office. He has also received confirmation from the Scottish Executive that the Criminal Legal Aid (Fixed Payments) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2002 will be amended in the light of the passage of the Bill, if it is passed.

In other words, the Law Society of Scotland persuaded us to table an amendment, which was then selected for debate. As a result, there has been further scrutiny of the matter, and the Scottish Executive have now been able to reassure the Law Society of Scotland that the necessary change will be made to the regulations, and I hope that the Minister will confirm that on the record. That shows the advantage of tabling amendments and has been a good example of the system working properly. I wanted to pay tribute to the Law Society of Scotland on not only originally identifying the point, but keeping me up to date with the progress.