HC Deb 23 April 1975 vol 890 cc1473-5
32. Mr. Monro

asked the Lord Advocate if he will pay an early official visit to Luxembourg.

33. Mr. Rifkind

asked the Lord Advocate whether he will visit the European Court of Justice.

35. Mr. Fairbairn

asked the Lord Advocate if he will pay an official visit to Luxembourg.

The Lord Advocate (Mr. Ronald King Murray)

I visited Luxembourg in January of this year and on that occasion had very useful discussions with members of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, including Lord Mackenzie Stuart and Advocate General Warner. I have no plans to pay another visit in the immediate future.

Mr. Monro

In view of the Lord Advocate's success in Luxembourg in making the Court of Justice appreciate the affinity between European law and Scots law, why did he vote against the Common Market?

The Lord Advocate

I think that the hon. Gentleman is inaccurate in his facts. I appreciate, as a result of my visit to Luxembourg, that there is strong understanding of the affinity to which the hon. Gentleman has referred. I am sure that if Britain remains in the Community the links can be strengthened.

Mr. Rifkind

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate that if Britain withdraws from the Community Scotland's unique representation at the European Court will come to an end? In view of the historic links between Scots law and the law of the Continent, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether his abstention on the Government's recommendation that Britain should stay in the Community was as a result of a judicial interpretation of his office or, indeed, whether he has any views on the subject?

The Lord Advocate

I certainly have views on the subject and, with the rest of the British people, I shall exercise them when the referendum takes place.

Mr. Fairbairn

If the Lord Advocate does not go to Luxembourg, in view of his well-known reputation for fairness will he ensure that ten-elevenths of Lord Mackenzie Stuart is returned to Scotland and ten-elevenths of an English judge is sent to Luxembourg, so that Scotland is fairly and proportionately represented—something that the Scottish National Party is anxious to achieve?

The Lord Advocate

The hon. and learned Gentleman is underlining the point already made that Scotland is adequately and well represented in the European Court of Justice.

Mr. Lipton

Is it not a matter for grave concern whenever the hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn) wants anyone to go anywhere?

The Lord Advocate

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

In view of the affinities between the Scottish and Continental legal systems to which reference has been made, will the Lord Advocate indicate what attitude his Department is taking to the proposal of the British Council—with, it would appear, the connivance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office—to steer European law students who wish to study the Scottish legal system into taking courses in England because of the lack of courses in Scotland?

The Lord Advocate

That matter has concerned me, but if the hon. Gentleman desires a specific answer it is right that he should ask an appropriate question.

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