§ Mr. Bruce Millan (Glasgow, Craigton)
I beg to move, in page 34, line 30, at the end to insert:Provided that where the offence with which the accused is charged is an offence for which imprisonment without the option of a fine is a competent penalty, a legal aid certificate will be granted by the court unless in the opinion of the court there are special circumstances which make it inappropriate to grant such a certificate and in such a case the court shall state the reason for its opinion and the reason shall be entered in the record of the proceedings.
§ The Chairman
I think that it would also be convenient to discuss the second Amendment, in line 30, and the third Amendment in page 35, line 19, with the Committee voting if required on the first and the third Amendments. These further Amendments are: In page 34, line 30, at end insert:Provided that where the offence with which the accused is charged is an offence for which imprisonment without the option of a fine is a competent penalty and a legal aid certificate is not granted by the court, the court shall 1288 state the reason for its opinion that it is not in the interests of justice that a legal aid certificate should be granted and the reason shall be entered in the record of the proceedings.and, in page 35, line 19, at end insert:(b) in any case the court mentioned in paragraphs (a) or (b) of the last foregoing subsection has not made legal aid available to an accused person in pursuance of this section, and the offence with which that person is charged is an offence for which imprisonment without the option of a fine is a competent penalty, it shall be competent for him to make application to the High Court of Justiciary for the granting of a legal aid certificate.
§ Mr. Millan
It would be convenient, as you say, Sir William, to discuss these Amendments together. They are connected with the granting of legal aid in criminal cases in circumstances where the accused person is charged with an offence for which imprisonment without option of a fine is a competent penalty. Perhaps before I explain the terms of the Amendment I might be permitted to say something about the background to them.
In a way, it was a pity that when we were discussing this question on similar Amendments in Committee upstairs we did not have the time to say something more about the legal aid background in Scotland. We have had in Scotland a system of legal aid in criminal cases which is long-established and which has provided a comprehensive system of aid at sheriff's courts and courts above those. This system has been carried out on a voluntary basis by solicitors and advocates in Scotland. The question whether or not the Government should take responsibility for this system of legal aid or afford an alternative system of aid was discussed in the Report by the Guthrie Committee on Legal Aid in Criminal Proceedings, published in May, 1960, as Command 1015.
The Report produces the reasons why it was thought not desirable in the Committee's view, if the Government were to introduce a statutory system of legal aid, that there should be repeated the provisions of a system which has worked voluntarily under the Poor Rolls system. The appropriate paragraphs in tie Guthrie Report include, firstly, paragraph 113 where it was suggested that it was unduly comprehensive to institute a system of legal 1289 aid to all accused persons at all stages in all courts of first instance. This was for the reason given in paragraph 91.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ The reasons given in that paragraph for not introducing the most comprehensive system of legal aid are not reasons which strictly speaking have anything to do with justice as such. They have to do with the practical difficulty of the expense that would be involved in a completely comprehensive system and all the strains which would be placed on the legal profession, the resources of the court, and so on. But even the Guthrie Committee, taking account of these circumstances and accepting that a completely comprehensive system of legal aid in criminal cases would not be desirable—and I certainly accept that for the burgh or J.P. courts though not necessarily for the sheriff's courts—yet made the recommendation in paragraph 120 that where a person appeared before a sheriff's court in summary proceedings, legal aid should be granted in all circumstances where that person was charged with an offence for which imprisonment without the option of a fine would be a competent penalty.
§ It seems to me that this is the kind of distinction which ought to be drawn in any statutory system of legal aid. There are, of course, arguments as to where exactly one should draw the line between giving legal aid as it were as a right and giving it in certain conditions, perhaps as appears in Schedule 4 at present, at the discretion of the court. Certainly, a line must be drawn at some point, but it seemed to me, and it seems to me now, and to my hon. Friends, on reconsidering the matter, that the line ought to have been drawn at the point where the Guthrie Committee drew it.
§ The Guthrie Committee said that where imprisonment without the option of a fine was a competent penalty then, provided that the conditions about financial eligibility were met, the accused person should have legal aid as of right. But the Government have whittled down this provision even further, and I repeat that the Guthrie Committee recommendation was something less than is actually being applied in many sheriff's courts in Scotland at present under the voluntary Poor Rolls system. What the Government have 1290 done is to say that except in certain circumstances, which are laid out in the substitutes section (2) on page 35 of the Bill, in the case of summary proceedings it shall be at the discretion of the court whether or not legal aid should be granted in any particular case.
The discretion of the court is set in the broadest terms, because all that the court has to do is to decide whether it considers that
…in all the circumstances of the case it is in the interests of justice that legal aid should be available to the accused".
That is a quotation from paragraph (b) as it now stands. I cannot imagine anything more widely drawn than these two phrases, "in all the circumstances" and "in the interests of justice". This gives an unlimited discretion to a court to decide whether an accused person appearing before it should be given legal aid.
§ In my view, there is something inherently objectionable in this provision. There will grow up, in practice, a series of local anomalies as between one sheriff court and another because one sheriff-substitute will have ideas entirely different from those of another about the kind of cases in which it is in the interests of justice that legal aid should be available. If we are to provide statutory legal aid, and if we are to put certain responsibilities on the court for deciding in which cases that legal aid shall be given, we ought to lay down guiding lines for the sheriffs-substitute who will be involved as to the kind of considerations and circumstances which we wish them to take into account. Otherwise, the matter will be left completely open and there will be the danger that different standards will be applied in different parts of the country.
§ In Standing Committee, I moved an Amendment which would have provided that, in any case where an accused was charged with an offence for which imprisonment without the option of a fine was a competent penalty, it should be mandatory, again provided that the financial circumstances of the accused were right, to give legal aid. The noble Lady the Under-Secretary of State rejected that Amendment. The series of Amendments with which we are now dealing do not go as far as that. I shall now explain their effect.1291
§ The first Amendment would make it mandatory for the court to grant legal aid where the offence was of the kind I have described unless, in the opinion of the court, there were special circumstances which made it inappropriate for a certificate to be granted, and in such a case the court would be obliged to state its reasons for the opinion that there were such special circumstances. In other words, in a case of this kind there would be a presumption that legal aid would be granted unless there were special circumstances making it unreasonable so to do.
§ The Amendment provides further that, if there were these special circumstances, the court would be obliged to state what they were, and also it would be obliged to have them entered in the record of proceedings. This latter provision is inserted for a very simple reason. Similar provisions in entirely different connections have been inserted at other points in the Bill. In this instance, it is inserted because, if a court has to make a decision which must be stated on the record, the decision will be arrived at in an extremely careful manner and the court will have to satisfy itself that it has not just vague reasons for turning down an application but quite precise reasons.
§ It is, therefore, a safeguard for an accused person. I do not for a moment suggest that the courts, in their consideration of applications for legal aid, will not give serious thought to them, but there is a sanction in having to state one's reasons for turning down an application, and, having regard to the importance of the kind of cases with which we are here dealing, it is, I suggest, a most valuable sanction to apply.
§ The second Amendment in page 34, line 30 does not go quite as far as the first. It does not say that it will normally be mandatory to grant legal aid unless there are special circumstances, but again it says that, when a court does not grant legal aid in cases in which imprisonment without the option of a fine is a competent penalty, the court shall be required to state its reasons and have them entered on the record of proceedings. Again, this is a safeguard. It is not quite so useful a safeguard as the one provided by the first Amendment, but it is still a safeguard for the accused person.1292
§ The third Amendment which we are discussing, in page 35, line 19, to insert a new paragraph (b), attacks the problem from a rather different standpoint. Whereas the first two Amendments are alternatives, the third could either stand by itself or be coupled with one or other of the first two. It gives to an accused person the right to appeal to the High Court of Justiciary from a decision of the summary court that legal aid shall not be granted. This is important for two reasons. First, it will give the accused person a right to appeal in circumstances in which it can be proved or averred that it is in the interests of justice that legal aid should be granted. In a sense, this is the main right of appeal.
§ It is important, also, because, so one hopes, it will introduce, perhaps not at the summary court level itself but at a higher level, the element of uniformity which will be completely lacking if the Schedule is allowed to remain unamended. It will place the summary courts under an obligation to remember that, since there will be the possibility of appeal to a higher court, there is need for them to establish some sort of uniformity of procedure and approach to the kind of circumstances and considerations which should be taken into account in dealing with applications for legal aid.
§ Even though the noble Lady was not able to accept the rather stronger Amendment moved in the Standing Committee, I hope very much that, for all the reasons I have given, she will be able to accept at least one of the Amendments which we now put to the Committee.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ The noble Lady rejected the Amendment in Committee upstairs principally on the ground of practicality. Reading the Committee proceedings again, I find it extremely difficult to understand what she meant by that. Presumably she meant that if the circumstances in which legal aid became mandatory from the statutory point of view were widened beyond what is laid down in the Fourth Schedule the courts would be swamped with legal applications, there would be many more pleas of not guilty, the courts' time would be taken up by having to deal at length with more cases than they deal with now and there would be far more appeals, and so on.1293
§ These are, of course, all important administrative considerations, but if our courts are not able to cope with the demands of justice as they should the remedy lies in improving the facilities in the courts, in ensuring that they are adequately staffed and that there is an adequate number of sheriffs-substitute, and so on. The remedy does not lie in whittling down the system of voluntary legal aid which has operated in Scotland for a considerable time. I find it offensive that we should introduce into our statutory system legal aid provisions which are considerably less favourable to accused persons than those which at present operate on a voluntary basis.
§ It is true that without legal aid of any kind in criminal cases there would be one law for the rich and one law for the poor. People who were able to afford legal representation obviously would have it, whereas people who were not able to afford it would not. We have accepted that that would be completely intolerable. Once we accept that, we accept the principle of legal aid in criminal cases and, having accepted it, it is absolutely essential that we put the principle into practice in the most liberal way consonant with the administrative and other circumstances and with reasonable provision for ensuring that every accused person has a fair trial and that his defence is properly put forward. My view is that that will not happen under the Schedule as it is drafted.
§ I hope very much that, for the reasons which I have given, the noble Lady will accept one or other of the Amendments.
§ Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)
I support the Amendments, which are very similar to those moved in Committee upstairs and which were rejected by the hon. Lady the Under-Secretary of State. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) has covered the case for the Amendments very well and I merely wish to emphasise some of the points which he has made.
The Government are departing from the recommendations of the Guthrie Committee, but that does not weigh a great deal with me. Committees make reports, not necessarily for us to accept their recommendations, but in order that we may have the necessary information and their opinions on which we can base 1294 our own judgment. It is, nevertheless, important to notice that in this respect the Government are departing from the recommendations of the Guthrie Committee which devoted much of its Report to putting the various arguments.
I now come to the matters which seem to me important. The first undoubtedly is that the Government's attitude means that we are taking a retrograde step in Scotland. We are denying legal aid to people who formerly obtained it under the old poor law system.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Lady Tweedsmuir) indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Willis
The hon. Lady shakes her head, but this is what it means. The Bill restricts the legal aid provisions and that is something about which the Government should think very carefully. The intention of the Labour Government in the 1949 Act was not that the existing provisions should be restricted but that they should be extended and should cover a wider range of people in Scotland.
The second bad thing about the Bill—and it has caused a great deal of comment in Scotland—is that we shall be operating a system of legal aid in criminal cases which will be determined not by Parliament but by the sheriffs. We shall not decide the cases in which legal aid shall be granted. This decision will be made by the sheriffs, who do not want this responsibility—at least, the sheriffs to whom I have spoken do not want it. Surely the noble Lady recognises that it will be most unsatisfactory if the practice in Fife differs from that in Renfrew, if the practice in Dumbarton differs from that in Edinburgh or if the practice in Ayrshire differs from that in Glasgow. This is what will happen under the Bill, and it seems to me a most undesirable state of affairs. The proposals of my hon. Friend the Member for Craigton would remedy that situaton.
What are the circumstances that a sheriff has to take into consideration when he decides whether people appearing before him under the summary procedure should be given legal aid? I have a rough idea of some of them from the words in the Bill, which are very general. A person will not have legal aid unlessthe court considers that in all the circumstances of the case it is in the interests of justice that legal aid should be available to the accused…1295 Is the sheriff the right person to make this decision? After all, a sheriff is a trained lawyer. He is not a trained National Assistance official. The officials of the National Assistance Board have expert knowledge and a very wide experience of dealing with these matters, and, while I do not suggest that we should introduce the National Assistance procedure here, I say that the type of experience required to make this sort of decision is different from the experience which a sheriff may possess.
Sheriffs have said to me, "We are not the people to make these decisions. This is not our job. It is something new to us". I do not know whether the decision will be made by the clerks of the court, but this is what sheriffs have said to me. In these circumstances, it seems to me that it would be better if the hon. Lady accepted these Amendments.
When we discussed this matter in Committee upstairs, the reasons put forward by the hon. Lady as to why she could not accept the Amendment were rather unsatisfactory. I am treating her in my usual generous and courteous manner. The main reason boiled down to the question of practicality. I remind the hon. Lady of what she said in Committee. First, she simply said that it was on grounds of practicality and left it at that. We prodded her and obtained a further explanation of what she meant by saying that it was difficult in practice. The hon. Lady then said:The practical point is that in a busy sheriff court where, in Glasgow, for instance, numbers of accused may be in custody, there would be delay in the disposal of cases if the court had to consider both the accused's means and the desirability of his receiving legal aid."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 25th June, 1963; c. 663.]The hon. Lady does not have much faith in her own Government, because she assumes that these conditions in Glasgow will continue. Surely, the hon. Lady is not such a pessimist as to think that the wonderful Government of which she is a member is unable to produce better conditions in the sheriff courts in Glasgow. I understand that the Government have set up a Committee to go into the whole business of sheriff courts and sheriff court procedure—the whole set-up, which, incidentally, is a "racket". 1296 It would be out of order to discuss this "racket", but it is one which calls for a lot of criticism.
If the Government are inquiring into the whole practice of the sheriff courts, surely, as a result, we can hope to see an improvement of the provisions in Glasgow. Everyone will agree that it is extremely undesirable that people should be kept in custody waiting for their cases to be dealt with. Surely, it is not beyond the wit of the Government to devise a procedure to appoint additional people, sheriffs substitute or whatever they may be, if necessary, to prevent this situation. Is not that the way to deal with it? It is not a difficult matter.
If, as appeared from the hon. Lady's speech in Committee, the only practical difficulty—it was the only one she mentioned—is that people might be kept in custody rather longer than they otherwise would be awaiting disposal of their cases, I suggest that in most of the sheriff courts this does not apply, because they are not busy enough, and that it is only in one or two sheriff courts that it applies, Glasgow being the notable case. In the case of Glasgow, everyone knows what the answer should be and everyone could solve this question. If we had another Government, we could solve the problem within a couple of weeks.
The hon. Lady's excuse is pathetic, because it shows such little confidence in her colleagues and in the ability of the Scottish Office to solve an elementary problem that a high-school child could solve. We have five or six Ministers at the Scottish Office—I have lost count of them—with a great array of talent, both masculine and feminine, yet we are unable to produce a solution to this little problem. This is not worthy of any Government who are anxious to maintain the continued support of the people of Scotland. In view of all this, I ask the hon. Lady to consider our proposals.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ My feeling is that the fault is not that of the Scottish Office but rather of the Treasury, which is not prepared to accept this financial responsibility. It might cost a few thousand £s more. That was why, in Committee, the hon. Lady gave the argument of practical reasons and not of principle. I always thought that the principles were rather more important 1297 than the practical difficulties if those difficulties were capable of solution. Now, we have the strange doctrine that principles, apparently, do not matter provided that some squalid little practical difficulty can be produced.
§ If we are to treat the people of Scotland as they ought to be treated in this respect, if we are to make the Bill effective and give equality of treatment to those appearing before the courts, which is a sound principle, we should accept the Amendment. I hope the hon. Lady will be forthcoming and will say that because of the brilliant expositions to which she has listened, both in Committee and today, she has been persuaded of the correct-ness of the course that we propose and will gracefully tell us that she is accepting our Amendments. Then, the Committee can proceed amicably.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) moved the Amendment with his usual persuasiveness. I agree with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) that it was a brilliant exposition, which he himself ably supported. The hon. Member for Craigton will be disappointed but, perhaps, not entirely unaware that I am unable to accept any of the three Amendments.
The hon. Member for Craigton did right to give us the background of the whole legal aid system in Scotland and I was glad that he accepted that one must draw the line somewhere. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East did less than justice to the system which we are proposing by saying that it was a retrograde step. Although it is true that at the moment we are talking of that part of the Schedule which concerns summary cases, nevertheless the hon. Member will, in justice, agree that under the present system there is no legal aid in summary appeals and that although representation is available, in theory, in cited cases in the sheriff summary court, that seldom happens in practice. In addition, apart from that, there is no representation in the J.P. juvenile court.
I agree with the hon. Member for Craigton about the able way in which he has drafted the Amendments. Although he said that they did not go nearly as far as the more vigorous Amendment which he moved in Committee, nevertheless they 1298 have the same intention, and he was honest enough to say so.
The first of the three Amendments would alter the whole emphasis of the relevant paragraph of the Schedule, at least as far as it concerns offences punishable by imprisonment. The court would need to consider, not whether a legal aid certificate should be granted in the interests of justice, but whether there were special circumstances in which a certificate should not be granted. In the nature of things, the granting of a certificate would become the rule and not the exception, and that is what the hon. Member wished to achieve. For the reasons which I gave in Committee upstairs, however, the decision should be left to the discretion of the court, and I must advise hon. Members not to accept the Amendment.
The second Amendment has the same object as the first, namely, to ensure that in a certain category of summary proceedings, the grant of a legal aid certificate by the court would be the rule and the refusal of a certificate would be the exception. The hon. Gentleman has selected a category of proceedings and has used in respect of them words which clearly imply that in those proceedings a legal aid certificate is normally to be given and is to be withheld only as a very exceptional measure.
If we turn to the third Amendment, the one to line 19, page 35, this Amendment would provide an appeal against a finding by a summary court or by a sheriff before whom an accused has appeared on indictment, that the accused, who must be an accused person charged with an offence punishable with imprisonment, is able, without undue hardship to himself or to his dependants, to meet the expenses of his case without calling on the Legal Aid Fund. Even the Guthrie Committee, to which the hon. Gentleman referred, did not mention the possibility of an appeal from a decision by the court that an accused person is able to pay for his own defence. I cannot, therefore, refer to a recommendation on this subject. I feel sure, however, that if the Guthrie Committee had considered the possibility of an appeal of this kind it would have dismissed it for this reason, because if hon. Members will reread the chapter of the Report that deals with financial eligibility for legal aid they will find that Lord 1299 Guthrie and his colleagues kept very prominently in mind the need to devise a system which would get the whole question of financial eligibility decided as quickly as possible. In paragraph 154 they said:The great advantage of determination of financial eligibility by the court is speedand they claim that the procedure which they devised, namely, a(declaration by the accused person, hearing and determination by the court) could all be carried out without delay.The hon. Gentleman will remember, of course, that I quoted this in Committee.
In the following paragraph there is again the suggestion of speed and urgency in the Committee's final recommendation that financial eligibility for legal aid in criminal proceedings should be determined by the court on the basis of a written declaration of resources by the accused person and a summary hearing, and I must emphasise the term "summary", at which the prosecutor is present and entitled to be heard. Therefore, if the Amendment were accepted the advantages of speed and finality would be lost without, I think, any significant improvement in the merits of the scheme at present put forward to the House.
Both hon. Members who have spoken this afternoon rather questioned what I said in putting forward our own system, and I may say that it is the one and only point on which we dissent from the Guthrie Report. Both hon. Members questioned the words I used when I said it was for "practical reasons". The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East seemed to think that I had not given enough thought as to why it was practical. I suggest that if he turns to page 47 of the Report and reads paragraph 162 he will read the following:Arrested persons must be brought before the court as soon as possible and the stage at which they plead guilty or not guilty to the charge may be reached only a few hours after their arrest. (They have a right to ask for an adjournment but they may not do so.) It would clearly not be practicable to have financial eligibility determined before that stage is reached.Therefore, it is for that reason that we have said that where a man is in custody and is being prosecuted summarily he shall have legal aid as of right, and although this is the one major recom- 1300 mendation of Guthrie to which the hon. Gentleman attaches much importance I am afraid I cannot accept his Amendment.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
We started off with a very disappointing decision by the Government. I had hoped for a better decision, because we see the name of the Secretary of State for Scotland appended to some of our Amendments and we hear rumours that the Government may even be prepared to accept some others, of which, so far, no written indication has been given. I hope that the importance of what we are doing is not going to be lost on the Committee because here we are making a last ditch stand. We can only do this on Recommittal. I say that because there is a Motion on the Order Paper relating to this tonight.
The part of the Bill that we are dealing with now was the part dealt with last in Committee, and I think the hon. Lady will be the first to admit that it probably did not get all the time that it merited because of the pressure of other work that has to be dealt with by the Scottish Committee. So a Recommittal stage is absolutely essential. I am sorry that the hon. Lady did not use her time between Committee, Report and Recommittal to have another look at the matter.
I admit that the hon. Lady's arguments, in so far as they were arguments at all, were not quite so controversial as the ones she used on the last occasion, but I do not think that they are satisfying. What are we doing? Whether we like it or not or whether the hon. Lady likes it or not, we have on the Statute Book at the moment legislation which could give to Scotland full comprehensive cover in relation to legal aid in criminal cases. It came before the House in 1949 and was accepted by the House in 1949. The only thing that has never been done in relation to it is the application of a date as to when it would start.
With the continued pressure on the Government to do something about it and with the breakdown of the existing system of legal aid that we have had in Scotland in respect of poor persons for nearly 400 years, the Government were forced to act, and so we had established a Committee to look into the question of the extension 1301 of legal aid to criminal cases. The outcome of that was a reduction of the comprehensive nature of the cover in respect of that legal aid, and what we have in the Bill, and which the hon. Lady has again been defending, is a still further reduction. Therefore, I think that my hon. Friend was right to use the words "retrograde step". Let us remember that once this system is put into operation we lose the benefits which there may be in particular areas under the present system. There is no doubt at all about that.
When I refer to the arguments which the hon. Lady would have been far better not to have used in Committee, I would remind her of the despairing argument which she used in order to convince us, that we are doing more in Scotland than they are in England. But the Guthrie Committee pointed out that if we take the existing system of help in criminal cases given freely and voluntarily by the legal profession in Scotland, and which it has been given for centuries, 10 per cent of the cases coming before the courts are covered.
In this benighted land where they have had the advantage of legal aid in criminal cases through a more recent Act of Parliament, the number of cases for which cover is given is 1 per cent. So for goodness sake do not let us suggest that we should base anything that we do in this respect on what England does today. Rather let us base it on what Scotland did 400 years ago. If we did that we should get a far better cover than the Government here propose.
We are not asking for all that we would like to ask for. As I said, this is a last-ditch stand. In Committee we suggested that in all cases coming before the summary courts—sheriff courts sitting in summary proceedings, the police court, the borough court and the magistrates'court—anyone charged with an offence for which the punishment would be imprisonment without the option of a fine should have the right of a defence.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ If we deny that right it does not mean no one will have a defence, but it does mean that those who have the defence are those who are able to pay for it. So we get the distinction we have always 1302 objected to, and which was met in Scotland so many years ago, on chance for the rich and another for the poor.
§ Why do we suggest this should be done in summary courts and in magistrates' courts? We suggest that because of the simple fact that half the criminal cases in Scotland are dealt with in the smaller courts, or the less important courts, the sheriffs' courts and the J.P. courts. There is evidence given by a stipendiary magistrate from Glasgow and quoted in the Guthrie Report that in these courts many people, not having legal advice, plead guilty to offences of which they are not guilty. Thus people achieve a criminal record which may stand them in pretty poor stead—in relation to this Bill later on, but perhaps in their lives also, and simply because of ignorance, simply because of convenience. They certainly would not do that if they had legal aid available at the proper time. So from that point of view I think it desirable that cover should be provided there in these cases.
§ We have limited our Amendments to the important thing, and we have given a way out for the courts by saying we will give a certain discretion to the courts to refuse legal aid in "special circumstances". As soon as we say that, the hon. Lady asks, "How is the court to interpret the special circumstances? It means the court will automatically grant legal aid in these cases." If she is going to ask that question I am going to ask her a question.
§ She is leaving decisions in relation to this whole body of cases with which we have been dealing, including those of this particular type carrying very serious consequences, to the discretion of the court as it is, but there is no definition or guidance given the court as to the basis of its decision within its discretion. And nothing is to be written about it. It is just to be handed down. The person who has applied for legal aid and is refused it has just got to accept the refusal. It is a complete and absolute discretion which is given to the courts, that is, the magistrates' courts and the sheriffs' courts.
§ I think both my hon. Friends have said that the magistrates' courts do not want it. Certainly the sheriff courts do not. But most of our magistrates in 1303 Scotland are politicians. The hon. Lady, coming from Aberdeen, knows that. Aberdeen is a city which has got burghal rights. It still has, in spite of the intentions of the Secretary of State in his miserable White Paper about modernising local government in Scotland. Magistrates are chosen from the town council, who are party politicians. We are placing those people in a position to state who shall and who shall not get legal aid.
§ Can one wonder that they do not want to wield this power—especially when we give them no guidance as to the basis on which they will adjudicate such decisions?
§ Equally, the sheriffs, I am perfectly sure, do not want it. They are under sufficient pressure and criticism in relation to varying standards of justice meted out under their own present discretion. Here they have to begin these cases by deciding whether or not persons will have the benefit of a defence. What does it mean? It means that in Aberdeen, in Ayr, in Edinburgh, in Glasgow, in Lanarkshire, in the different sheriffdoms in Scotland, different attitudes will betaken in relation to the same type of person and the same type of case.
§ If the hon. Lady thinks this is going to lead to confidence in the administration of justice, well, I certainly do not. Indeed, if the case is started with the person who is charged already having a feeling of grouse about the court's decision as to whether or not he is to be defended, he will hardly be entirely satisfied that he has had justice if eventually he is found guilty by the court and sentenced by the court. He will hardly feel he has had justice when we start on the basis of injustice.
§ All these conflicts, these pressures, are built into this giving of discretion to individuals. I am perfectly sure that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. J. Henderson), who has been a Glasgow magistrate, will appreciate the difficulties into which we are putting individuals. I do not think it is right. I do not think it is fair. We have to remember that of all the cases which come before the lower courts in Scotland only about 3 per cent. are defended cases, but I wonder how many 1304 of them would be defended but for the absence of cover under the existing system and if people had the money to pay for it.
§ It is for this reason that I feel very strongly about this matter. I do not think the reply we have had from the hon. Lady has in any way met the case put by my hon. Friends. From the point of view of justice and fairness as between individuals, and from the point of view of magistrates and sheriffs themselves having to wield an unwanted discretion, and from the point of view of the person who is being dealt with, I think it would have been far, far better—if not accepting the whole of Guthrie—if the Government had seen their way to accept one or another of these Amendments—one or other of the first two, and certainly the third. I do not think the hon. Lady replied to that one at all. She replied to one which has not been moved yet, about financial eligibility, which, so far as I know, we are not discussing at the moment.
§ But that is not the only mistake the Government have made about this. Their real mistake, of course, is that they based their findings about this not on the type of people concerned, and not on justice, but only on convenience, the convenience of the courts, and on the lack of resources, and have gone no way at all to meet part of the case.
§ We certainly have not taken the opportunity we had to burnish our reputation in legal aid in Scotland. Do not let us slip down even a slight way towards the miserable English record in this matter. I am sorry indeed that the noble Lady has given us such a disappointing reply. She said she rather thought we would expect that disappointing reply. I am going to surprise her. We did not except a disappointing reply. We thought she was the one Under-Secretary of State for Scotland who could assert herself. There is still time. Before we pass from these Amendments, I sincerely hope she rises to the occasion.
§ Mr. Willis
The hon. Lady has rejected the Amendments again, this time with a slight change in emphasis on the reasons for rejection. She quoted at great length from the Guthrie Report to show the need for speed. The argument 1305 used against our proposal is that it is wholly a question of speed.
What would be the effect of our Amendments? As I understand the hon. Lady's argument, it is that a number of persons appearing before the courts would automatically become eligible for legal aid, and that would mean more work. Her argument would be valid if the Government proposed to take no action to cope with that additional work. The only case for accepting her argument is that the Government propose to do nothing about the additional work which would be created in the courts and, therefore, it would take longer to deal with the cases. Surely this cannot be so?
The Guthrie Committee also drew attention to the fact that additional persons would be required in a number of cases to deal with additional work. I hope the hon. Lady will tell us that the Government accept this. If the Government accept it, what is the position in the sheriff courts and other courts? The position is that those courts which today are not very busy—there is a number of them—will be busier. Some of us think that will not be too bad a thing for some of the courts, for they will be justifying themselves rather more than they are doing today. That aside, in other courts the work will be of a character which will necessitate the appointment of additional persons. Glasgow is the outstanding example.
The hon. Lady and the Government must face the position that when the Bill comes into operation they will have to appoint additional persons. Even if it means the appointment of yet another person to give effect to our Amendments, surely that is desirable if in the process we shall be doing something which is more just than what is now being done and gives greater equality of treatment to people appearing before the courts? That is our case.
All I wanted to do was to point out the pathetic weakness of the case presented by the hon. Lady. I am surprised that she accepted it from those who handed it to her. I am surprised that her keen mind did not perceive that it could not carry much weight. One has only to examine it cursorily to see how very weak it is. There is no case for rejecting the Amendments other than the desire of the Government not to have to 1306 appoint one or two additional people in one or two of the courts to do the extra work involved. I should have thought it worth while doing this if we wanted to get a good scheme while we were tackling the problem.
§ Mr. Willis
Before we proceed, Sir William, perhaps the hon. Lady could tell us what the Government's intentions are about providing additional staff to cope with the work.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
As the hon. Gentleman said, an inquiry is being conducted into the whole working of the sheriff courts, and it may well be that when that is completed the reallocation of work may have an effect also on higher courts as well as on the sheriff courts. Therefore, until the inquiry is completed I could not possibly tell him what is being done about the extra people who will be required.
However, I should like to take this opportunity—if we are to move to a decision on these Amendments it is important that I should take the opportunity—to make clear to the House exactly what is the extent of the legal aid which will be provided when the Bill is passed. It is governed by the First Schedule of the 1949 Act. This covers all courts. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) particularly devoted his speech to the problems of the magistrates' and burgh courts.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
It is only to meet what the hon. Gentleman said—he was, clearly, not in order, but he was not observed—that I sought to answer his query. Therefore, as we are both, happily, apparently not observed, I will quickly say that it is intended to bring this system of legal aid in in stages. The Guthrie Committee itself recognised that it could not extend immediately to the burgh and magistrates' courts.
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted:—1308
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 172, Noes 182.1309
|Division No. 170.]||AYES||[5.46 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Ainsley, William||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Albu, Austen||Hannan, William||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Harper, Joseph||Pentland, Norman|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Barnett, Guy||Hayman, F. H.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Price, J T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bence, Cyril||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Probert, Arthur|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hilton, A. V.||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Benson, Sir George||Holman, Percy||Randall, Harry|
|Blackburn, F.||Holt, Arthur||Redhead, E. C.|
|Blyton, William||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Boardman, H.||Hoy, James H.||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Rhodes, H.|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics,S.W.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bowles, Frank||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Boyden, James||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rodger, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Ross, William|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jeger, George||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Short, Edward|
|Chapman, Donald||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Silkin, John|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Small, William|
|Cronin, John||Kelley, Richard||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Kenyon, Clifford||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Ledger, Ron||Steele, Thomas|
|Dalyell, Tam||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Davies, c. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Stonehouse, John|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lubbock, Eric||Stones, William|
|Davies, Ifor (Cower)||McBride, N.||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||MacColl, James||Swingler, Stephen|
|Deer, George||McInnes, James||Symonds, J. B.|
|Dempsey, James||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Taverne, D.|
|Donnelly, Desmond||McLeavy, Frank||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Driberg, Tom||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Mahon, Simon||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Mallalieu.J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Manuel, Archie||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mapp, Charles||Wade, Donald|
|Evans, Albert||Mason, Roy||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Fernyhougrt, E,||Mayhew, Christopher||Warbey, William|
|Finch, Harold||Mendelson J. J.||Weitzman, David|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Millan, Bruce||Whitlock, William|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Milne, Edward||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Forman, J. C.||Monslow, Walter||Willey, Frederick|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moody, A. S.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Morris, John||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Moyle, Arthur||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mulley, Frederick||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Grey, Charles||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oliver, G. H.||Woof, Robert|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||O'Malley, B. K.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Oram, A. E.|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Owen, Will||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Lawson and Dr. Broughton.|
|Aitken, Sir William||Black, Sir Cyril||Clarke, Brig. Terence(Portsmth, W.)|
|Allason, James||Bossom, Hon. Clive||Cleaver, Leonard|
|Arbuthnot, John||Box, Donald||Cole, Norman|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Braine, Bernard||Cooke, Robert|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Brewis, John||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.SirWalter||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.|
|Barber, Anthony||Brooman-White, R.||Cordle, John|
|Barlow, Sir John||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Corfield, F. V.|
|Barter, John||Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Costain, A. P.|
|Batsford, Brian||Butlard, Denys||Coulson, Michael|
|Bell, Ronald||Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Crawley, Aidan|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Butler, Rt.Hn.R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Critchley, Julian|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver|
|Biffen, John||Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Crowder, F. P.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitcham)||Curran, Charles|
|Bishop, F. P.||Cary, Sir Robert||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Doughty, Charles||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pym, Francis|
|Duncan, Sir James||Kirk, Peter||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Duthie, Sir William||Lagden, Godfrey||Ramsden, James|
|Eden, Sir John||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Rawlinson, Sir Peter|
|Emery, Peter||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Farr, John||Longden, Gilbert||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Fell, Anthony||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Fisher, Nigel||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McLaren, Martin||Russell, Ronald|
|Forrest, George||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Speir, Rupert|
|Freeth, Denzil||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Gammans, Lady||Macleod, Rt, Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|George, Sir John (Pollok)||McMaster, Stanley R.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Macpherson,Rt.Hn.Niall(Dumfries)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Maginnis, John E.||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Maitland, Sir John||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Teeling, Sir William|
|Gower, Raymond||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Temple, John M.|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Gurden, Harold||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Mawby, Ray||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Miscampbell, Norman||Turner, Colin|
|Hastings, Stephen||Morgan, William||Turton, Rt. Hon. R, H.|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hendry, Forbes||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Walder, David|
|Hiley, Joseph||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Walt, Patrick|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Webster, David|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Holland, Philip||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hopkins, Alan||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Hornby, R. P.||Partridge, E.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Peel, John||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Percival, Ian||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Pilkington, Sir Richard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pitt, Dame Edith||Mr. Frank Pearson and Mr. MacArthur.|
|Jennings, J. C.||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
§ Mr. Willis
I beg to move, in page 34, line 44, to leave out from "satisfied" to end of line 47 and to insert:that his financial circumstances make him eligible for such aid in accordance with criteria to be laid down in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of State.Regulations made for the purpose of this subsection shall not come into force unless or until approved by resolution of the House of Commons".This Amendment returns to a subject which we raised in Committee and which is closely allied to the matter we have just been discussing. Our purpose is to ensure that legal aid in criminal cases shall be granted on a uniform financial basis. That was the intent of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act, 1949, but the Bill departs from that principle and it is to be left entirely to the sheriffs, judges and magistrates to decide the financial eligibility of any applicant for legal aid.
The first objection to that is one we made in connection with the previous Amendment—that this is likely to create different criteria of financial eligibility 1310 in different districts. Sheriffs, judges and magistrates are not always the best persons to decide financial eligibility. As I pointed out in Committee, some judges have peculiar ideas of what individuals can or cannot afford and how heavy a burden may be to individuals of certain income.
Secondly, the Bill would create difference of treatment in different areas and different courts. That must surely be wrong. The Minority Report to the Guthrie Report, paragraph 18, said:The basis of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act, 1949, was that of a uniform standard of eligibility (section 2(1)) and, while this may, as I have suggested above, have to be modified to deal with exceptionally costly defences, I disagree with the drastic step of recommending a variation so as to abolish entirely such a standard and to substitute carte blanche for individual sheriffs-substitute, burgh magistrates or justices of the peace to apply whatever criteria they may think fit.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ For the first time in our discussion of the Bill, I now understand that legal aid in criminal cases is not to be applied in 1311 burgh magistrate's courts and courts of justices of the peace, but that the Government intend to extend it to those courts later Even so, carte blanche will be given to sheriffs-substitute to decide financial eligibility. Most sheriffs substitute do not want that job.
§ We are not here creating our own legal aid system in criminal cases, but permitting sheriffs substitute to create theirs in their own sheriffdoms. Why should someone in Edinburgh get treatment different from that given to someone in Glasgow, and someone in Glasgow treatment different from that given somewhere else? Apart from being a principle with an excellent parentage, the Labour Government, the principle laid down in the 1949 Act was sound and it is one to which we ought to pay attention when we extend legal aid to criminal cases.
In the Minority Report of the Guthrie Report, Mr. Ewan Stewart said:
Parliament should not, in effect, delegate its powers to members of the judiciary, thus giving each of them, as it were, a free hand to write his own legal aid scheme in respect of financial eligibility.
We in Parliament should accept the responsibility and lay down the financial criteria which we think should be applied and not leave it to the 59 sheriffs-substitute in Scotland and so have 59 different schemes. We might even have different schemes applying in Glasgow according to which sheriff-substitute happens to be sitting in the court. That is absurd, and I hope that the hon. Lady will accept the Amendment.
§ I have not had time to refresh my memory about what was said in Standing Committee—I shall read it as our debates today proceed to see whether there is anything worth returning to—but I have no doubt that the hon. Lady will again argue that we do not want National Assistance officers dealing with these matters. This has nothing to do with National Assistance. The courts can interpret the rules, although I am still not quite sure how that can be done. It has been suggested to me that an officer of the court should be detailed to examine applications for legal aid and to deal with them irrespective of the sheriff substitute. I do not believe that that is what is now intended. I understand that it is intended that the applicant should fill in 1312 a form which would go before the court and that the applicant might be questioned about it, that the prosecutor might put in objections and that there would be almost another judicial process to decide whether the applicant was entitled to receive legal aid. It would be much simpler and would help the hon. Lady in her desire for speed, which we all agree to be necessary, if the Government laid down financial criteria and each case was then determined by an official of the court and taken out of the hands of the sheriff-substitute.
§ For all those reasons, I hope that the hon. Lady will give us a much more kindly answer than on the last Amendment. She must agree that her arguments on that Amendment could not have been very powerful, for the Government obtained a majority of only ten. Hon. Members opposite appear to think it much more important to be at Buckingham Palace than supporting the hon. Lady's arguments. It is obvious that they were not convinced by her arguments in Standing Committee or they would have been here to attend.
§ I would have thought that hon. Members opposite would have been more courteous to the weaker sex—I do not know about weaker—and would have shown rather more chivalry. For hon. Members opposite, the age of chivalry is passed and they do not even come to the support of the hon. Lady. This is a shocking exhibition. I am glad to say that we are here to show our interest and I hope that she will treat us rather more kindly in view of our support and the courteous attention which we give to her speeches. If she accepted the Amendment, she would be able to go to bed tonight a satisfied woman, conscious of the fact that she had done a worthwhile job and had improved the Bill.
§ Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)
My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) has been very kind to the hon. Lady.
§ Mr. Steele
He seems to have left his powerful adjectives in the Standing Committee Room. Perhaps he felt that they were not getting him anywhere and so tonight we find him in a very kindly and persuasive mood.
§ Mr. Steele
I hope and trust that he will have more success with this Amendment.
I am concerned with the Amendment for another reason which my hon. Friend mentioned during our earlier discussion. When the Bill is passed, how legal aid is administered will no longer He with us, but will depend on the attitude of the sheriff and particularly on the kind of mood he happens to be in that day. How will the Sheriff approach this? The words here will be given their literal meaning and not be interpreted as we think they ought to be. The Schedule says that legal aid shall be available if the accusedis unable without undue hardship…to meet the expenses of the case.It does not refer merely to "hardship" Had the Bill saidwhere the court is satisfied after consideration of his financial circumstances that he is unable without hardship to himself…to meet the expenses of the casethat would have met the point that is worrying me.
The Amendment lays down certain criteria which will be decided by the Secretary of State and brought before Parliament for our agreement. The Amendment is fair and reasonable because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) pointed out, every sheriff will be his own adviser in this matter, and a variety of situations will arise in different parts of the country. We all know that there are sheriffs and sheriffs. I defend rather than attack some sheriffs, because I know that they will look at these provisions and be as generous as possible, but there are others who I have no doubt will take the opposite view, and we must realise that a sheriff's decision will affect not only an accused person but his dependents.
The hon. Lady ought to tell us why this arrangement has been made. Who has been consulted? Who made these suggestions? Why is it impossible to find some other way of dealing with this problem? Unless we receive satisfactory answers to these questions, we shall have to divide the Committee again, and I hope that when we do the ten hon. Members who supported the hon. Lady on the last occasion and gave her victory, as it were, will this time decide either to have a cup of tea or to depart for 1314 Buckingham Palace and thus ensure that we achieve at least one victory in the course of our proceedings.
§ Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)
I was not a member of the Committee which considered this Bill, but I hope that the hon. Lady will be convinced by the eloquent and sound arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis).
I am shocked at the prospect of someone who is accused of a criminal offence having to appear before a sheriff or a sheriff's substitute who will decide whether or not to grant his application for legal aid. Whoever conducts the investigation will inquire into the accused person's background. The applicant may well have a good job, and a reasonable income, but if he has a young family to maintain, the sheriff's decision might mean considerable hardship to him.
A further point to remember is that an accused person may have his application considered by the sheriff who will eventually try him. I consider it bad practice that a man charged with a criminal offence should first be subjected to an investigation into his means to decide whether he should be granted legal aid and then be tried by the sheriff who conducted the investigation.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ I hope that the hon. Lady will accept the Amendment. It will not make any great change in the principle of the Schedule, but it will ensure that some procedure is established for giving a person legal aid without him having to appear before someone who will eventually try him. It is far better that somebody not connected with the court in which he is to be tried should consider his application for legal aid, and I therefore repeat my hope that the hon. Lady will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen. North)
I support the Amendment because it will undoubtedly improve the Bill. The Schedule as it stands is defective because it deals with the fundamental phrase "financial circumstances". The Bill provides for a multiplicity of definitions of this phrase. There is nothing certain about it for the unfortunate accused person. This phrase will be heard, determined, and denned, according 1315 to the whim, or, to be more respectful, the judgment of a particular court.
It used to be said of certain phases of English law, perhaps jocularly, but certainly truly, that equity was as variable as the length of the Lord Chancellor's foot. The "financial circumstances" referred to in this Schedule will be as variable as the length of the particular judge's foot, and I submit that this will be am injustice to an accused person. The law should not only be just, but should be certain, and under this Bill it will not be so.
The Schedule as it stands is an unpardonable reactionary reversion to the law which, as I have just said, was described as being as variable as the length of the Lord Chancellor's foot. The Amendment will ensure that the phrase in question is defined definitely once and for all in regulations to be made by the Secretary of State for Scotland and approved by Parliament.
So far, no logical defence of this reactionary provision has been put up, but adequate reasons have been put forward for the Amendment which we are discussing, which I hope will commend themselves to the Government. There is nothing to be said for this unpardonable variability of definition of financial circumstances. What are the circumstances? What is the court to take into account? There is not a word in Section 2 of the 1949 Act which indicates what considerations are relevant for the courts to take into account. Not only will the courts be in a difficulty; each court will have its own standards and its own way of approaching this rather inscrutable phrase "financial circumstances".
The Amendment, on the other hand, will give a certainty of meaning to the phrase, and will import justice where there is at present injustice. I hope that the arguments of my colleagues and I will so commend themselves to the Government that they will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. James McInnes (Glasgow, Central)
This part of Schedule 4 will obviously create many difficulties throughout Scottish courts. Its provisions constitute a serious departure from the 1949 Act. Hon. Members on this side of the 1316 Committee take the view that the sheriff should not have the power to determine the financial eligibility of anyone appearing before him. In Committee we indicated that Mr. Stewart, in his reservations, made it quite clear that Parliament should not, in effect, delegate power to members of the judiciary, thus giving each of them a free hand to create his own legal scheme in respect of the definition of financial eligibility.
The Amendment to Section 2 of the 1949 Act, contained in Schedule 4, includes the words "without undue hardship". How are they to be defined? What constitutes undue hardship? The hon. Lady must appreciate that this provision is grossly unfair. In effect, it will mean that in some areas of Scotland people will qualify while in others people in precisely similar circumstances will not. The hon. Lady ought to keep in mind the provisions of the 1949 Act and, rather than depart from them, eliminate this provision altogether.
§ Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
Anyone who is not a member of this Committee would not require to know the background of the discussion to realise that this provision is a very unsatisfactory one. It is composed in the most negative fashion. Let us consider the phrase which it contains:Where the court is satisfied after consideration of his financial circumstances…No information is provided as to how those financial circumstances shall be calculated. What is permissible income, and what is disregarded income? There is no clue as to the way in which this passage in this part of the Schedule will operate. It is wrong to ask the Committee to adopt a provision which is so vaguely worded that none of us can have a fair assessment of the implications of its operation.
I would have thought that if we are to have regard to financial circumstances we are entitled to know what elements of income will be taken into account, what allowances will be set against those elements of income, and what aspect of income and remuneration will be disregarded. There is no indication of how comprehensively such a scheme of administration may operate. This is a quite apparent weakness, and the noble Lady ought to consider the matter again. Whether we like it or not, we are handing more power to the Executive. By 1317 delegating our Parliamentary rights we are handing more and more power and authority to the justiciary, which is not responsible to the electors, citizens or taxpayers.
This is a departure from the democratic processes which govern this House and the country generally, and in those circumstances I cannot understand why even hon. Members opposite can approve of the wording of this part of the Schedule. I would have thought that if they acted according to their consciences they would have been in duty bound to oppose it. Most of them have business interests, or are interested in commercial enterprise. They would be averse to running their affairs, or engaging in transactions while operating under such a vague formula as is contained in this provision.
I cannot see why the noble Lady cannot accept the Amendment. It provides that the Secretary of State shall prescribe certain scales for the purpose of adjudication. This is nothing new to the Secretary of State. He is never done with providing scales. He has a staff which indulges in this work from week to week, having the mental gymnastics necessary for prescribing such scales. At the moment they are trying to prescribe scales providing that council tenants shall pay a certain rental, because the result of their mental gymnastics leads them to believe that certain wage levels apply in certain localities throughout Scotland.
We are saying that some scale should be laid down to ensure universality of operation in Scotland for Legal Aid purposes. That is not unreasonable. In Edinburgh today, the Department will hand an applicant a scale relating to educational students personal awards. It seems to be no trouble. It seems to be easy for them. It is almost entertaining. In those circumstances I cannot see why the Amendment should not be accepted so that scales can be provided to ensure equity of treatment in different parts of the country conserving free legal aid.
We abolished the old welfare committees of local authorities in order to avoid the very diversification that the Bill is creating. We did that because they were working out unfavourably in some areas and favourably in others. That was the reason given for the introduction of the 1948 Act, which abolished those 1318 committees and concentrated on prescribing uniform scales for the Ministry of National Insurance. It was with a view to achieving universality in application that this legislation was introduced. This evening we have a Bill which applies the very opposite of what we have been hearing week after week and month after month for the past few years.
How can the noble Lady justify this vacillation and contradiction of the administration of the Government she represents? It is clear and valid that if we leave it to the sheriffs we shall have a variety of legal aid schemes operating. And look at some of the judgments of our sherffs. Some of the most unexpected decisions are arrived at. They almost threaten our confidence in the law-making system of the country. Some of these decisions are almost incredible and result from the operation of the mind on a set of given facts. If that be the sort of panacea we are to have, we shall get a diversified scheme operating from court house to court house and no one will be able to explain to his constituents what are their entitlements. That is a grave danger. If the hon. Lady wishes to be efficient in the conduct of this Bill and to go down in history as a law-maker, she will accept the Amendment which is full of jolly good sense.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Archie Manuel (Central Ayrshire)
I support the Amendment. Surely the hon. Lady would agree that it indicates the right intention. Surely she does not wish to treat people in difficulty who come before the court—some being more innocent than others—in a way which will place them in a position where, because of what I consider a very bad mistake in Schedule 4, they will be affected by the open manner in which legal aid is to be decided upon by the court. A definite injustice could react on innocent, people. We have no assurance that a sheriff in one court will not take a different line regarding the standard to be operated from that existing in another court. We consider that people are innocent until they are proved guilty. But, in a desire to get legal assistance and present their case in the best way, people may find that there exists a dividing line in this matter. They may find themselves above that line in one court and below it in another, and 1319 this will interfere with the process of justice.
The noble Lady must tell us what is meant by:…Subject to this Part of this Act, legal aid in connection with criminal proceedings shall be available to an accused person where the court is satisfied…That is a very loose statement. What is meant by…where the court is satisfied"?Is a court to sit to decide this? How do the Government, for whom today the noble Lady is responsible, justify what I consider an iniquitous provision? The noble Lady must explain that phrase…where the court is satisfied after consideration of his financial circumstances…Does that mean the court? Does it mean the sheriff? Or does it mean the sheriff's clerk? What on earth is preventing the noble Lady from saying that there should be a scale laid down which could be operated fairly and generously in all the sheriff courts?
I want the noble Lady to be true to herself. I want her to allow her own generous impulses to dictate the answer. We know the noble Lady. With my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) I had the pleasure and privilege of serving on a Standing Committee in which the hon. Lady skilfully piloted through its Committee stage a Bill which eventually became an Act designed to protect birds. The noble Lady went to great lengths to protect the little ducks and all sorts of birds. I had never heard of some of them, although a compliment was paid to me because I did know of some of the lesser known Scottish birds. But I distinguish them not so much by how they speak—for all birds have a language—but by their plumage, the garments with which they adorn themselves.
The point here is that the noble Lady showed concern—we agreed with her—about the protection of birds. My hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East went out of his way to provide an argument in favour of the protection of some little-known duck that hitherto had not been protected and for that the noble Lady thanked him profusely—as she did me on a similar occasion. That showed her generosity of nature and her impulse 1320 for protection. It revealed an urge to preserve what was good and beautiful in ornithology.
The noble Lady's ornithological outlook was very good. I want her human outlook to be just as good. Here we are dealing with human beings. I am all for the protection of birds, but I wish to make certain that the hon. Lady will be herself in regard to this provision and that the instinct which decided her speeches during the Committee stage of the Bill to which I have referred will prompt her to throw aside her briefs—her gay plumage, if the noble Lady likes. If she does that, and if she tells us that she agrees with the sentiments expressed in the Amendment, she will be coming down on our side and agreeing that the Amendment is a good one which should be supported. She will be agreeing that there should be a standard laid down which will be generous in its operation and allow justice to be carried to innocent people who find themselves arguing their affairs in our sheriffs courts.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
I quite agree with the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) that the Committee on the Protection of Birds Bill was a most intriguing and hilarious one. I well remember his services on that Committee.
To return to this Bill, I think he and all hon. Members have sought very hard to persuade me to accept this Amendment. Although it was moved very clearly, as is usual, by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) I am afraid I cannot accept it. Because I cannot accept it, I hope to be able to persuade all hon. Members who have spoken in this debate that perhaps there is some merit in the scheme which we have put forward in the Bill and which is a recommendation of the Guthrie Committee.
Several hon. Members have said they are afraid that to leave the arrangements to a decision by sheriffs in different parts of the country would mean that there would not be a uniform decision, and people would be treated differently in different courts. I remind hon. Members of paragraph 153 of the Guthrie Committee's Report, which said:Since in each determination the individual case concerned would be a relevant factor, it is impossible to prescribe a uniform standard of eligibility.1321 It is true that the Report goes on to say that the Committee thought that there would be an absence of a uniform standard, but it did not think that was an important objection, and added:It will fall to a court of law in each case to decide what is reasonable.
§ Mr. Willis
If the noble Lady reads further, she will see that the Guthrie Committee also said:While the absence of such a standard could result in accused persons in different areas receiving different treatment.It doubted whether this was an important objection, but we think it is an important objection.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
That is exactly why I quoted that paragraph. I was going on to argue the case for our suggested scheme rather than that of the Amendment, which seeks to have regulations by the Secretary of State subject to approval by the House of Commons.
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes), in particular, asked why we departed from the 1949 Act. The Guthrie Committee examined the 1949 Act and how it had worked out in the assessment of financial eligibility so far as it concerns civil legal aid. That Committee decided that for criminal legal aid it could not agree that this was a good method. As hon. Members know, the Committee noted that while, for civil legal aid, resources are assessed by the National Assistance Board, the Board needed at least a fortnight to make up its assessment accurately. In certain cases where people did not give the right information, the Board needed as much as a month. If it gave a very rough-and-ready assessment, it could sometimes do so within a week, but the Guthrie Committee thought that even that was not right for criminal proceedings.
Therefore that Committee went on to examine a recommendation made by the Law Society of Scotland, that the determination of financial eligibility for legal aid in criminal proceedings should, as in England, be made summarily by the criminal court. It pointed out that on the basis of a summary hearing it would not be possible to establish with a fair degree of accuracy how much the applicant could afford to contribute towards his legal expenses and therefore 1322 recommended that no contribution should be payable by the accused. The final part of the Committee's argument was that if contributions were to be ruled out, the court in effect would be deciding whether an accused should have free legal aid or no legal aid at all. It therefore seemed to the Committee that in taking this decision the court must have regard not only to the accused's resources, but also to the likely expenses of the case, something which it thought quite unsuitable for a body such as the National Assistance Board to decide.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ The Guthrie Committee thought there could be no fixed level of income or capital above which legal aid would not be available and below which it would be available. For example, if legal aid were free it surely would be ridiculous to have a uniform income limit of, say, £500 which would be applied whatever the likely cost of the defence. A man with £450 disposable income might be able to pay for a defence in a minor case, whereas a man with a disposable income of £1,000 might be crippled by the cost of defending himself on a serious charge. Therefore, the court is required to consider the financial circumstances of the accused and also the seriousness of the case.
§ Mr. Millan
The argument is whether there should be legal aid with a contribution or no legal aid at all, but my hon. Friends and I argued in Standing Committee that there should be differences in the contributions provided. That was turned down by the Government.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
Exactly, but hon. Members in this debate have asked what was the origin of the scheme we are proposing. That is why I am going into some detail about it now. The Amendment follows the Guthrie Committee's Report in dispensing with a detailed assessment of resources by the National Assistance Board, but substitutes an assessment by the court, which necessarily would be fairly detailed. In not proposing a detailed assessment, I dare say the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East, and his supporters had in mind that the court should be given fairly simple guidance for its consideration of the financial circumstances of the accused, but in practice 1323 it simply would not be possible to give the court guidance which would be at all easy or simple, as I think the Amendment seeks to do.
Once the Secretary of State had embarked on the task of laying down the criteria required by the Amendment it would be necessary, to make clear that justice was being done as between one applicant and another, to go into considerable detail in describing what items of income and capital were to be considered, what were to be disregarded, what allowances were to be made for the applicant's inescapable commitments.
The hon. Member suggested that this would be nothing to a Department which has to devise various bursary scales and so on. While I am sure the Department will be glad to have his confidence, I suggest that it would be a great deal more difficult to do so in this instance. If one looks at the assessment of resources regulations in force in connection with civil legal aid, I should have thought that would be quite enough to dispel any idea that such regulations could be made at all simply or without going into great detail.
The Amendment would require the court to undertake in the course of criminal proceedings a detailed assessment of resources which on the civil side is undertaken by skilled officers of the National Assistance Board, but which I suggest would be a task quite unsuitable for the courts. Therefore, I am afraid that I will have to ask the Committee not to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Ross
We had hoped that by this time and after the vote which has been taken, the hon. Lady would have hesitated before she tried to persuade the Committee that it was impossible to accept this Amendment. If she reads the Amendment and the existing Schedule she will see these words as it stands at the moment, with all the restrictions there are in relation to categories and courts as to who shall get legal aid. There is this over-riding restriction:Subject to this Part of this Act, legal aid in connection with criminal proceedings shall be available to an accused person where the court is satisfied after consideration of his financial circumstances that he is unable without undue hardship to himself or his dependants to meet the expenses of the case.1324 We object to that, because it is leaving absolutely free discretion, without any guidance from Parliament, to the sheriffs or the magistrates to determine the financial eligibility of a person, not for legal aid but for free legal aid. Let us appreciate that there is either free legal aid or no legal aid. The hon. Lady built up a case by preceding her argument with the words, "If legal aid is free". She was quite wrong in suggesting that we are prepared to accept that as the proper standard. But because of the way in which the legislation seeks to amend the previous Act, I am sure that hon. Members who have not been in the Standing Committee have no idea what it means.
In relation to legal aid in civil cases, contributions and sharing of costs arise, but here we must remember that we have a principle built in for the sake of simplicity; it is either free legal aid or no legal aid. In those circumstances, because the Government are terrified of the cost, we have restriction and limitation which will lead to hardship. But hardship in itself does not matter; the Bill states that it is "undue hardship", whatever that may mean. Who will determine it? Not Parliament. The sheriff will do it. Who will question the sheriff? Nobody. Discretion is given to the sheriff in relation to financial eligibility as related not to hardship but to undue hardship. It is unfair to suggest that this is an advance on the present circumstances.
We suggest that the Clause should read:Subject to this Part of the Act, legal aid in connection with criminal proceedings shall be available to an accused person where the court is satisfied that his financial circumstances make him eligible for such aid in accordance with criteria to be laid down in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of State. Regulations made for the purpose of this subsection shall not come into force unless or until approved by resolution of the House of Commons".The Secretary of State will have drawn them up and we shall have approved them.
Does the hon. Lady appreciate that there would still have to be a judgment in relation to financial eligibility? But as it stands, the standard against which these financial resources are to be measured is a standard depending on the mood and circumstances of individual sheriffs and magistrates up and down Scotland. Does she think that it would 1325 be less speedy if we laid down criteria against which judgment should be made? The difficulty about timing is not in relation to the standard against which we judge but against the estimate of what the resources are. These remain the same both with the Government's proposals and with our proposals. The Government have no scheme. Whatever else it may be, it is not a scheme, as the hon. Lady knows. The only guidance is in the words which I read. That is not a scheme. It is handing the decision over to someone else and saying, "You carry on. We give you no guidance or judgment. It is up to you."
There is no reason why we should not be able to do what is suggested in the Amendment and give this guidance to sheriffs and magistrates. Where both the hon. Lady and the Guthrie Committee went wrong is that they sought simplicity where there cannot be simplicity, and in going after simplicity they are not giving justice and fairness.
I said in Committee that this was the most unsatisfactory part of the Guthrie Committee's discussions. That Committee tried to have it every way. We pointed out to the Guthrie Committee that we could get an assessment of a person's resources, that it could be done in a rough and ready way within a week and in a far better way within a fortnight, and that in most cases to which it will be applied the person will be held for trial much longer than a fortnight. There is time. When this was drawn to the Committee's attention, it said, "Time does not matter". The basis of the hon. Lady's argument is that time does matter.
When we pointed out to the Committee that this will lead to a varying discretion being exercised and different standards of judgment in different parts of Scotland, we were told, "It does not matter". This astounded me, and I gave vent to my feelings about it in Committee. The simple fact that a decision is made by a court of law on something which is not a matter of law does not necessarily satisfy me as a politician that it is reasonable or right. It might satisfy the lawyers who sat on the Guthrie Committee but I do not think that the House is prepared to accept paragraph 153, which reads:While the absence of such a standard could result in accused persons in different areas 1326 receiving different treatment, we doubt whether this is an important objection.We are dealing with justice and fair play between one individual and another. There is enough injustice in what the Government are doing without swallowing this, too. It will fall to a court of law in each case to decide what is reasonable, and the implication is that whatever the court decides is bound to be right.
That may be true in relation to matters of law, although we believe that it is not always true, but they are not deciding a matter of law here. They are deciding a person's financial eligibility in relation to legal aid. It is a social decision. I am sure that sheriffs do not want to have to take it.
I wish that the Government would think again. I do not know whether the Garden Party is over and whether the presence of the Patronage Secretary means that the forces have arrived, but I remind hon. Members that in the last Division the Government had the second lowest majority in this Parliament—10. The lowest majority was also on Scottish affairs. But if those hon. Members who came into the Lobby and just managed to save the Government had heard the argument, then the Government would not have had a majority of 10; they would have been beaten. They can still be beaten this time, and if the hon. Lady has no more to say, I hope that my hon. Friends will support us in the Lobby.
§ Mr. Willis
We have discussed the hon. Lady's arguments previously, and I say once again that I am exceedingly disappointed that she will not accept our Amendment. Had she really applied her mind to this: matter as she could have done, she would have been on our side. I can only repeat what an eminent Scottish lawyer said to me yesterday, referring to our Amendments: "That the Government have failed to listen to your representations on legal aid in criminal cases seems to be really lamentable". I agree, and I shall, of course, vote for the Amendment.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule: —
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 195, Noes 159.1329
|Division No. 171.]||AYES||[7.0 p.m.|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Gammans, Lady||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Atkins, Humphrey||George, Sir John (Pollok)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Morgan, William|
|Barlow, Sir John||Glover, Sir Douglas||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Barter, John||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard|
|Batsford, Brian||Goodhart, Philip||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Bell, Ronald||Gower, Raymond||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Grant-Ferris, R.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Gurden, Harold||Partridge, E.|
|Bidgood, John C.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Biffen, John||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Peel, John|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Percival, Ian|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvey, John (Watthamstow, E.)||Peyton, John|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Hastings, Stephen||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Hay, John||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Box, Donald||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Braine, Bernard||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Brooman-White, R.||Hendry, Forbes||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hiley, Joseph||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Bryan, Paul||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Pym, Francis|
|Bullard, Denys||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Quenneil, Miss J. M.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hirst, Geoffrey||Ramsden, James|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hocking, Philip N.||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Holland, Philip||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hopkins, Alan||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hornby, R. P.||Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & S'th'ld)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Roots, William|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Russell, Ronald|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Hughes-Young, Michael||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Cole, Norman||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Cooke, Robert||Iremonger, T. L.||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Jennings, J. C.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Cordle, John||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Corfield, F. V.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Costain, A. P.||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Coulson, Michael||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Crawley, Aldan||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Temple, John M.|
|Critchley, Julian||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Kirk, Peter||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Curran, Charles||Lagden, Godfrey||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Lambton, Viscount||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Turner, Colin|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Doughty, Charles||Litchfield, Capt. John||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Dray son, G. B.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Duncan, Sir James||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Walder, David|
|Duthie, Sir William||MacArthur, Ian||Walker, Peter|
|Eden, John||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Wall, Patrick|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Emery, Peter||Maclean,SirFitzroy(Bute&N.Ayrs)||Webster, David|
|Errington, Sir Erie||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||McMaster, Stanley R.||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Farr, John||Macpherson.Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Fell, Anthony||Maddan, Martin||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maginnis, John E.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Marten, Neil||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Forrest, George||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Button)||Mawby, Ray||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Freeth, Denzil||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Mr. McLaren and Mr. Hugh Rees.|
|Abse, Leo||Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S.W.)||Crossman, R. H. S.|
|Ainsley, William||Bowles, Frank||Cullen, Mrs. Alice|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Brockway, A. Fenner||Dalyell, Tam|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)|
|Barnett, Guy||Brown, Rt. Hon. George- (Belper)||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Bence, Cyril||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Davies, S. D. (Merthyr)|
|Benson, Sir George||Chapman, Donald||Deer, George|
|Blackburn, F.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Delargy, Hugh|
|Blyton, William||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Dempsey, James|
|Boardman, H.||Cronin, John||Diamond, John|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Crosland, Anthony||Donnelly, Desmond|
|Driberg, Tom||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley)||Jones, T. W, (Merioneth)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Kelley, Richard||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Kenyon, Clifford||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Evans, Albert||Ledger, Bon||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Lee, Miss Jennis (Cannock)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Finch, Harold||Lubbock, Eric||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Forman, J. C.||McBride, N.||Ross, William|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||McCann, John||Short, Edward|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McInnes, James||Silkin, John|
|George, Lady MeganLloyd(Crmrthn)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Gourlay, Harry||McLeavy, Frank||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Small, William|
|Grey, Charles||Mahon, Simon||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Manuel, Archie||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Mapp, Charles||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Mason, Roy||Steele, Thomas|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mendelson, J. J.||Stones, William|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Millan, Bruce||Swingler, Stephen|
|Hannan, William||Monslow, Walter||Symonds, J, B.|
|Harper, Joseph||Moody, A. S.||Taverne, D.|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Morris, John||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Moyle, Arthur||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Heafey, Denis||Mulley, Frederick||Wade, Donald|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Oliver, G. K.||Warbey, William|
|Hilton, A. V.||O'Malley, B. K.||Weitzman, David|
|Holman, Percy||Oram, A. E.||Whitlock, William|
|Holt, Arthur||Owen, Will||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Hoy, James H.||Parker, John||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pavitt, Laurence||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hunter, A. E.||Pentland, Norman||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Popplewell, Ernest||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Prentice, R. E.||Woof, Robert|
|Janner, Sir Barnett||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Probert, Arthur|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Randall, Harry||Mr. Lawson and|
|Mr. Sydney Irving.|
§ Schedule agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; as amended (in Standing Committee) considered.