HC Deb 12 February 1951 vol 484 cc22-3
43. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Attorney-General to what extent Service applicants have to pay more under the present scheme of legal aid than previously under the Forces scheme.

The Attorney-General

Under the new scheme members of the Services contribute towards the cost of their case if, and to the extent that, their means and the general circumstances allow. In many cases they will receive aid without payment of any contribution. Under the previous scheme they were required in all cases to pay the out-of-pocket expenses of their solicitor, which were usually not less than £8 and were sometimes more. The answer to my hon. and gallant Friend's Question is, therefore, that in some cases Service applicants are better off than under the old scheme and in some are not so well off, depending in each case upon the particular circumstances of the applicant and of his case. I would add that my noble friend the Lord Chancellor and I are closely watching the actual practice of the scheme in regard to the contributions payable both by Service and other applicants.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Will my right hon. and learned Friend re-examine the position in the case of those applicants who have to pay more now, especially bearing in mind the assurance given to me in the House by the Minister of Defence on 24th May that the same facilities would be available under the new scheme for Service applications as were available under the old?

The Attorney-General

It is not really a question of re-examination. We are examining the matter at present very carefully.

Sir H. Williams

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether this is another example of a means test introduced by a Socialist Government?