HC Deb 26 October 1966 vol 734 cc1018-9
41. Mr. Whitaker

asked the Attorney-General how many representatives of the public, litigants or witnesses are participating in the present review of the length of the legal vacations.

The Attorney-General (Sir Elwyn Jones)

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the Joint Committee set up by the Bar Council and the Law Society, which I mentioned in answer to his Question of 19th October. It will be a matter for the Committee, which has only just been set up, to decide from whom evidence will be taken, but I am sure that it will bear in mind the importance of ascertaining the views not only of the legal profession, but also of others who are affected by the arrangements for the legal vacations.

Mr. Whitaker

While agreeing that my right hon. and learned Friend is the best and most loyal trade union leader in the House, may I ask whether, with his fairmindedness, he would not agree that this question affects the convenience of many more members of the public than lawyers? Will he not, therefore, ensure that the public interest is paramount in any decisions which are arrived at?

The Attorney-General

I am perfectly well aware of that and I hope that my trade union activities are helpful to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Grieve

When considering the length of vacations, will the Attorney-General bear in mind that a large part of the Bar and, indeed, of the judiciary is occupied during the vacations with the work of quarter sessions and that, were the vacations to be cut short so as to interfere with the work of quarter sessions, part of the criminal work might well break down?

The Attorney-General

That is one of the several factors of which I ventured to remind the House when we discussed this matter last week.