HC Deb 12 March 1951 vol 485 c1054
39. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of National Insurance why Mrs. H. F. Ford, Blandford, Dorset, is unable to be legally represented before a local tribunal in her appeal.

Dr. Summerskill

As I have explained in correspondence with the hon. Member, legal representation of claimants before local tribunals under the National Insurance Act is precluded by a regulation. This regulation was made on the advice of the National Insurance Advisory Committee, who, after considering numerous representations, took the view that the proceedings should be kept as informal as possible.

Mr. Crouch

Is the Minister aware of the embarrassment caused to this lady, who was appearing before the tribunal for the first time, while the tribunal were quite accustomed to these matters? Could not some alteration be made in the Act so that she could be legally represented at all levels?

Dr. Summerskill

My experience is that women are often more fluent than men.

Mr. Paton

Is there anything that would preclude the hon. Member for Dorset, North (Mr. Crouch), from accompanying his constituent?

Dr. Summerskill

No, provided that he is not a barrister.

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