I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether any alteration has been made, by Minute or otherwise, in the system or arrangement regulating the scale of fees, in addition to salary, received by the Law Officers of the Crown, under which such fees have been increased in amount?
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir W. HARCOURT)
Perhaps my hon. Friend will allow 682 me to answer that question. A change has been grade in the position of the Law Officers, and the Treasury Minutes dealing with the subject will be laid upon the Table. Meanwhile I may explain that Law Officer's will not in future appear as counsel for a private client except before the Privy Council and in cases in the House of Lords. Their Department will be placed upon a permanent footing and will be provided with a clerical staff. I believe that the new arrangement will enable Government departments to avail themselves of the advice and assistance of the Law Officers more readily, and under more favourable conditions than before, and will ensure a record being kept of all questions referred to the Law Officers, and all opinions given. The want of such a record has frequently been the cause of inconvenience. The only alteration in the Law Officers' fees will he that while the former Minute prescribes that the fees shall be such as a Queen's Counsel of average standing in the profession might properly accept from a private client, subject to a certain maximum, the new Minute limits the fees to those which a Queen's Counsel of like standing might reasonably expect from a private client. I hope the House will think the arrangement satisfactory.