HC Deb 24 June 1964 vol 697 cc382-3
8. Mr. Clark Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when legal aid in criminal cases will start operating.

44. Mr. Willis

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to appoint a day for the coming into operation of Clause 48 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, 1963.

45. Mr. Millan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what further progress has now been made in preparing for the introduction of legal aid in criminal causes under the Criminal Justice Act, 1963.

Lady Tweedsmuir

The necessary preparatory work is now well advanced and it is hoped to start operating the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme in the autumn.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

Will my noble Friend press ahead as quickly as possible with this matter and give attention to methods of publicising the scheme when it comes into operation?

Lady Tweedsmuir

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Willis

Is the noble Lady aware that last year she promised that this scheme would come into force on 1st April of this year? Is it not quite scandalous that after all this shillyshallying over the past 12 years we were told that it was to come into operation on 1st April and now we are told that it will come into operation in October? Why should we have to lag so many years behind England in this matter? Is not it quite disgraceful?

Lady Tweedsmuir

I indeed said that I hoped that it would be possible to bring the scheme into operation in the financial year 1963–64, but all those concerned are working very hard on the preparatory work and it should be ready by the autumn.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will the noble Lady ensure that persons who are tried and found not guilty and whose trial has involved expense in legal costs are provided with costs or indemnity? It would be unjust otherwise.

Lady Tweedsmuir

That is another question.