Clause 80

Legal Services Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 pm on 19th June 2007.

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Function of appellate bodies

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats

This is the first of two clauses about appeals in the context of alternative business structures. It allows for the Lord Chancellor to establish by order bodies to hear and determine appeals from decisions, which is perfectly proper, reasonable procedure. I would be grateful if the Minister could tell the Committee what sort of bodies the Government envisage would be set up under the procedure. I appreciate that we will return to that point in secondary legislation.

In relation to modifying existing bodies, I recognise that clause 80(2) flags up two such bodies, namely the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the Discipline and Appeals Committee established by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. Will the Minister say what is intended by way of secondary legislation if we pass the clause? Will we have one appeals body or several? Will they involve lay people? Some colour and information would be helpful.

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

The hon. Gentleman is right; the bodies concerned are the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the Discipline and Appeals Committee of the CLC. The Law Society cannot of its own accord simply create an appeals body, nor can it modify on its own the powers of another statutory body such as the   Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. That is why the provision is in the Bill. If I may, I shall write to the Committee with more detail on the structure of the appeals bodies, because further discussions on what the structure will be are ongoing.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats

I am grateful; that is very helpful.It might be particularly helpful if the Minister lets colleagues have her written comments on the matter in good time before we reach Report, for reasons that she will understand.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 80 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 81 to 82 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield

I congratulate the Committee on its stamina. The Committee will now adjourn until 9 o’clock on Thursday morning, when I will be again in the Chair.

Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Michael Foster.]

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-six minutes past Nine o’clock till Thursday 21 June at Nine o’clock.