HC Deb 03 August 1972 vol 842 cc945-6
14. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement as to the progress of his consultations with legal organisations in Northern Ireland relating to the introduction of legislation comparable to the Legal Advice and Assistance Bill.

23. Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will ensure that all changes currently being made in legal aid and advice arrangements in Great Britain will also be implemented in Northern Ireland; and what further proposals he has for law reform in this area of policy.

Mr. Channon

The further development of the Legal Aid and Advice Scheme in Northern Ireland is still being discussed between the Northern Ireland Ministry of Home Affairs and interested parties.

Mr. Davis

Will the hon. Gentleman say when these discussions are expected to end and when legislation will be introduced? Does he not recognise that the introduction of legislation along the lines of the Legal Advice and Assistance Bill is at least as essential in Northern Ireland as it is here, to promote the principle in active terms of equality before the law?

Mr. Channon

I note the hon. Member's views. I am not in a position to say when legislation will be introduced. There are all sorts of proposals. The Director of Law Reform for Northern Ireland is considering a conference at the suggestion of the Child Poverty Action Group of Northern Ireland and there are a whole series of wide-ranging discussions going on about the topic at present. I note the hon. Gentleman's views about the urgency of the matter.