HC Deb 21 June 1978 vol 952 cc466-7
32. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Lord Advocate what arrangements he is making for the employment of more persons to take precognitions in order to assist the procurator-fiscal service.

The Lord Advocate

The Civil Service Department has approved the appointment of 13 additional legal staff and seven additional precognition officers.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that nothing is more depressing for procurators-fiscal in Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland than to be overloaded with paperwork when they have to appear all day in court? Will he do everything within his power to make certain that they have the necessary back-up to support, so that they can perform their tasks with maximum efficiency and speed?

The Lord Advocate

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has stressed the importance of back-up support. The increase of 20 in the staff, which has been authorised by the Civil Service Department, includes deputy fiscals as well as precognition officers. I am happy to say that of the total of 20, six will be allocated to Glasgow.

However, in allocating additional staff one has to bear in mind the need for back-up. As the hon. Gentleman has rightly pointed out, it is not enough to have highly qualified legal personnel to do the work in court. One has to back them up with shorthand-typists and other people who can give them the necessary material when it is needed to go into court.