HC Deb 20 July 1981 vol 9 cc19-20
45. Mr. Steen

asked the Attorney-General if the Lord Chancellor will review his guidelines for law centres.

The Attorney General

If my hon. Friend has any specific suggestions in mind, my noble Friend will be happy to consider them. In the meantime, however, the guidelines at present in force have received general acceptance with all the interested parties, and any change would have to be renegotiated.

Mr. Steen

Will my right hon. and learned Friend say whether the Lord Chancellor's guidelines approve the use of public money to finance the representation of trade unions by law centres? Is he aware that the Association of Clerical, Technical and Supervisory Staffs instructed the Central London community law centre to act on behalf of 45 staff of a London charity at interlocutory hearings and industrial tribunal hearings? Does he believe that it is a proper use of taxpayers' and ratepayers' money that unions should be represented in this way by law centres?

The Attorney-General

The matter has been, and remains, under consideration by the Lord Chancellor. The inquiries of which I know do not support the view that this was an application by a trade union taken up by the law centre but rather an application by a number of individual members of a trade union.

Mr. Archer

Will the Attorney-General tell the House when we may expect the report of the inter-departmental working party on law centres, appointed following the Benson recommendations?

The Attorney-General

I think not for some time, but if I can obtain any further information I shall write to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.