HC Deb 19 June 1972 vol 839 cc28-9
34. Mr. Meacher

asked the Attorney-General what is the current expenditure by the Lord Chancellor's Department on the provision of secretarial assistance, typing and dictaphone facilities, apart from the provision of clerks, for Her Majesty's Judges in the House of Lords, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Crown Court, respectively; and what additional provision he intends to make in the future.

The Attorney-General

It is not possible to quantify as a separate figure the secretarial and typing assistance which the judges receive. Consideration is being given to the need for further assistance of this kind.

Mr. Meacher

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that at least one of the presiding judges on a regional circuit normally has to write 10 long letters in long hand each morning because he has no secretary, while the nine judges in the House of Lords have to make do with one clerk between them? Is not this an inefficient way of running the machinery of justice? Cannot we have an early and substantial increase in the secretarial facilities?

The Attorney-General

I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman is pointing out, though the Presidents of the various Divisions are given secretarial assistance, and in two cases a secretariat and in one a personal assistant. There are these difficulties to which the hon. Gentleman has drawn attention. I shall draw the attention of my noble and learned Friend to the hon. Gentleman's point.

Sir Elwyn Jones

Is the Attorney-General aware that the situation is particularly serious in the House of Lords where there should be the least difficulty bearing in mind the importance of the duties falling upon the Lords of Appeal?

The Attorney-General

I have much sympathy with the point raised by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and I shall again make sure that my noble Friend has it well in mind.