HC Deb 23 November 1949 vol 470 cc365-6
50. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Minister of Defence whether he is aware that the free legal aid system for members of the Armed Forces is due to come to an end next year; and what steps he now proposes to take to ensure adequate legal aid being given to members of the Armed Forces in view of the decision to postpone some parts of the Legal Aid and Assistance Act, 1949.

Mr. Alexander

Following the decision to postpone the operation of certain parts of the Legal Aid and Advice Act the question of continuing the existing scheme of legal aid for the Forces is being examined. I regret that I cannot yet make any detailed statement on the matter.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of officers and other ranks in the Army and Royal Air Force have deferred voluntarily their release for quite a long period in order to operate this scheme, and will he try to see that their claims for consideration are not overlooked when appointments are made in a general scheme?

Mr. Alexander

I am aware of the sacrifices which have been made by many officers in the Army and Air Force in retaining their positions in the Forces in order to do this work. I am quite sure that these facts are known to the Service Ministers concerned and that I can leave the matter to them.