HC Deb 10 December 1975 vol 902 c454
38. Mr. Rifkind

asked the Lord Advocate what discussions he has had with the legal profession with regard to the White Paper on Devolution.

The Lord Advocate

So far I have not discussed the White Paper with the legal profession. The Government have, however, invited the profession to submit any observations which it may wish to make on the proposals set out in the White Paper, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that any observations received in response to that invitation will be most carefully considered.

Mr. Rifkind

In case the Lord Advocate does not take part in the devolution debate in January, will he inform the House what was meant in the White Paper about control over the legal profession being devolved to the Assembly?

The Lord Advocate

What is intended by the White Paper is that such power as is possessed by Westminster at present to legislate on the legal profession will be devolved to the Scottish Assembly. In saying that, it is necessary to make two qualifications. On the one hand, the present practice has been that legislation on the legal profession has been of very limited extent and generally at the request of the branch of the legal profession concerned. On the other hand, control means no more than it says. There is no intention to devolve to the Scottish Assembly anything greater than the Westminster Parliament at present enjoys in regard to the legal profession. However, it is correct to point out that the White Paper accurately states the potential of devolution on this aspect.

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