HC Deb 19 June 1972 vol 839 cc27-8
33. Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

asked the Attorney-General what discussions he has had with the Bristol Law Society about matters for which he is responsible.

The Attorney-General

None, Sir. I have noted with interest the pilot duty solicitor scheme which was run by the Bristol Law Society a few weeks ago. I understand that a Committee of the Law Society is now studying a similar Scottish scheme and that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary proposes to consider the question of extending the Scottish scheme to England in the light of that Committee's Report.

Mrs. Oppenheim

In view of the outstanding success of the Bristol experimental duty solicitor scheme, in which there was a very high take-up, does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that there should be a national duty solicitor scheme as part of the national legal aid service in order not only to render assistance but also to save the time of the courts?

The Attorney-General

I agree that that was a successful pilot scheme. My hon. Friend will appreciate that under Clause 2(4) of the Legal Advice and Assistance Bill, which is now before another place, a court can call upon a solicitor to assist a party to proceedings in the magistrates' court or county court by giving legal advice and assistance and by representing him in the proceedings.