HC Deb 17 July 1924 vol 176 cc581-2

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury when the fees to be paid to the Attorney-General and the three Counsel who assisted him during the trial of Vaquier for murder are likely to be ascertained; and if he can say why such a trial if held in Scotland would have been undertaken by the Lord Advocate and an Advocate Depute without payment of any extra fees?


In view of Vaquier's appeal it is not possible to say when the fees payable to the Attorney-General and the other Counsel engaged will be settled. As regards the second part of the question, an entirely different system prevails in Scotland, under which the Lord Advocate is paid a salary to include, inter alia, all contentious business; and there are four salaried Advocates Depute. In England the Attorney-General's salary does not cover contentious business, and, as there are no Counsel paid by salary, Counsel have to be retained for necessary assistance to the Attorney-General and to be paid by fees.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say if it is not the case that every brief is marked with a fee, and, therefore, it will be perfectly easy to give us a figure of the cost?


No, Sir, it would not be easy. We do not know what the figures are until the case is complete. The case is still under appeal, and I could not give any figure until the appeal is overtaken, and we know the actual cost.


Why is it that the English Bar and the Scottish Bar are not placed on the same footing in regard to this question?


Would any greater cost have been incurred by the Government if the Attorney-General's place had been taken by other Counsel?


I could not answer that without inquiry.

Forward to