HC Deb 16 July 1956 vol 556 c838
23. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Attorney-General if, in view of the recommendations contained in the Law Society's annual report on legal aid, the Report of the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce, and the Report of the Select Committee on Estimates relative to legal aid, he will now announce the policy of Her Majesty's Government as to bringing into force the provisions of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, regarding free legal aid.

Mr. Fletcher

On a point of order. The last word in the Question should read "advice" and not "aid".

The Attorney-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)

That makes a very significant alteration to the Question. I was going to say that I assumed that the hon. Member was referring to Part I of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949. As he now realises, there are no provisions regarding free legal aid in that part of the Act.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the consensus of opinion among all those best qualified to form an opinion is that it is high time that free legal advice was introduced? Can he say what is the Government's policy about it?

The Attorney-General

That is not accurate. The Annual Report of the Law Society did not recommend the introduction of legal advice, nor did the Select Committee on Estimates.