HC Deb 26 July 1982 vol 28 cc840-1
The Solicitor-General

I beg to move amendment No. 7, in page 8, line 3, leave out from 'paid' to end of line 4 and insert: 'on the making of the legal aid contribution order, the court may direct that the legal aid order shall not take effect until that sum is paid.' During our discussion of clause 9 in Committee the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) raised the question of interpretation with regard to the use of the word "forthwith". I gave an explanation of what it was intended to mean. I think that that was what it meant. However, the wording contained in this amendment will put the meaning beyond doubt. For that reason, I commend the amendment to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

The Solicitor-General

I beg to move amendment No. 8, in page 8, line 7 after 'paid', insert: 'by the legally assisted person'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments:

Government amendment No. 9.

Amendment No. 10, in page 8 line 12 at end insert: 'and unless satisfied that the failure to pay was in wilful disregard of the order of the court'. Government amendment No. 11

The Solicitor-General

A good deal of our time in Committee was taken up rightly with the circumstances in which a legal aid order might be revoked. I gave an undertaking in Committee to tighten up the circumstances in which an order might be revoked. These amendments give effect to that undertaking.

The effect of the amendments will be to ensure that courts revoke legal aid orders for non-payment of contribution only where they are satisfied that the legally assisted person was able to pay contribution at a time when he was required, but failed to do so. The amendments also require courts to be satisfied that the legally assisted person, at the time that revocation is being considered, is able to pay all or part of the amount due, but refuses or fails to do so. It will be noted that amendment No. 8 prevents the power to revoke being used when the appropriate contributor has failed or refused to pay.

The other amendments that are being discussed in this group are designed to achieve the same purpose. They are all aimed at the same target. The Government's amendments secure precisely and in full what was intended by the other amendments.

Mr. Archer

We are grateful to the Government for taking account of the proposals that we made earlier. It is an important improvement. It will spare a great deal of hardship and prevent a great deal of injustice. In the circumstances, I do not propose to move amendment No. 10.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 9, in page 8, line 10, leave out `without first' and insert 'unless satisfied, after'.

No. 11, in page 8, line 12, at end insert—

  1. '(a) that he was at that time able to pay the sum in question; and
  2. (b) that he is able to pay the whole or part of it but has failed or refused to do so.'—[The Solicitor-General.]

Back to
Forward to