§ 64. Mr. R. C. Morrison
asked the Attorney-General whether his attention has been called to the circumstances following a recent street accident to a child in Tottenham where the distressed parents were visited within a few hours by representatives of four legal-aid firms desiring to act on their behalf without fee or charge; and, in view of the close connection existing between these agents and certain firms of solicitors and the inability of the Law Society to stop these undesirable practices, will he consider legislative action?
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Terence O'Connor)
My attention has not previously been drawn to the case in question. The Law Society made new rules in order to deal more effectively with this class of case, which only came into operation last October, and I hope that these rules may prove effective. I communicated the particulars which the hon. Gentleman has been good enough to let me have to the Law Society, who are making inquiries.
§ Mr. Morrison
Is the Solicitor-General aware that it is very distressing for parents whose children have met with accidents to have a constant succession of people calling at their houses in the midst of their sorrow, offering to undertake their claim without any charge; and is he 1194 further aware that there has been no diminution of this practice since the Law Society made its new rules? In a recent case nine people within three hours called at the house of the parents of a child who had been run over. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman take this matter up with the Law Society in order to try to get this state of affairs altered?
§ The Solicitor-General
I assure the hon. Member that the distressing character of this practice is fully present to my mind. With regard to his second observation, he will be happy to know that there has been a very considerable diminution since the recent rule. Whereas previously there were constant complaints about this matter, the complaint which the hon. Member himself has brought to my notice is, in fact, the first that the Law Society has received since the new rule was brought in on 1st October last.
§ Mr. Cassells
May I take it that in the case of unqualified claims assessors the Law Society has no jurisdiction or control over their activities? If that be so, will the hon. and learned Gentleman see that proper steps are taken in this regard?
§ The Solicitor-General
That, of course, is an entirely different matter. I was dealing only with the cases in which solicitors, by their connection with these bodies, were concerned.