HC Deb 23 February 1966 vol 725 cc411-2
37. Mr. Howe

asked the Minister without Portfolio what steps have so far been taken towards the establishment of a Standing Advisory Committee on Legal Education along the lines proposed by the Legal Education Committee in its Report, Command Paper No. 4663, of July, 1934; to what extent he is satisfied with the present organisation of the legal education system; what further steps he proposes to take in connection therewith; and whether he will now establish an interdepartmental committee to inquire into the lack of progress towards the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee.

The Minister without Portfolio (Sir Eric Fletcher)

The proposed Standing Advisory Committee on Legal Education recommended in the report of the Legal Education Committee was never set up. Since 1934, very considerable changes have been made in the legal education system. My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor is aware of and welcomes the fact that the Inns of Court, the Council of Legal Education and the Law Society are actively engaged in revising the system at the present time. He proposes to await the outcome of their revision before considering whether to institute any form of interdepartmental inquiry.

Mr. Howe

I thank the Minister for that reply, but is he aware that many people on both sides of the legal profession and in the universities are anxious to see all parts of the legal education system drawing closer together? Will he assure the House that he and his noble Friend will do everything that may be necessary to hasten this process, which is essential to the modernisation of the legal profession?

Sir E. Fletcher

I am aware of the matters to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred. Speaking personally, I should welcome a joint system of education for barristers and solicitors and a joint examination. Although this is not primarily a matter in which there is Ministerial responsibility, both my noble Friend and I welcome the steps which are being taken both by the Bar Council and the Law Society to further the interest to which the hon. and learned Gentleman refers.