HC Deb 31 July 1972 vol 842 cc25-6
32. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Attorney General what steps he will take to expedite the consideration by the Legal Aid Advisory Committee of the income limits of eligibility for legal aid.

The Attorney-General (Sir Peter Rawlinson)

The committee is already fully aware of the urgency of this matter.

Mr. Davis

Is not the Attorney-General prepared to be a little more forthcoming about this matter? Is he aware that when he was last questioned about it he said that he was not aware when the Legal Aid Advisory Committee would be in a position to publish its report? Does he recognise that in regard to the Legal Advice and Assistance Bill it is absolutely imperative that the position should be made clear now? Is he further aware that the Standing Committee was informed that it was desirable to await the further report of the Legal Aid Advice Committee before making Amendments to the Bill? We are now told that the advisory committee's report is not available. Is not this a scandal?

The Attorney-General

I am surprised at the hon. Gentleman. The 21st report was received on 14th June. Since then the committee has had two meetings. It appreciates, as it said in its 21st report, that this is a matter of urgency and it is to consider this and a range of other related problems. The advisory committee is continuing to meet and is well aware of the urgency of the situation.

Mr. S. C. Silkin

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that all the figures in the Legal Aid and Assistance Bill were out of date even before the Bill was published and that by now they have all been completely gazumped? When can we expect legislation bringing those figures up to date?

The Attorney-General

I leave those matters to the advisory committee. The committee has made the report and recommendation and is meeting and me must await its report.