HC Deb 24 October 1983 vol 47 cc12-3
43. Mr. Bell

asked the Attorney-General if he will introduce measures to merge the professions of solicitors and banisters into a single profession.

The Attorney-General (Sir Michael Havers)

No, Sir.

Mr. Bell

I appreciate the brevity of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's answer but if the Government are as determined as they say they are to attack the problem of restrictive practices and to protect the interests of the consumer, should he not direct his attention to the fusion of the legal professions in the interests of the consumer, to the detriment of restrictive practices and to the benefit of all those who have recourse to the law during their lives?

The Attorney-General

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Benson Commission, which unanimously decided against fusion.

Mr. Hayes

Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that to fuse the two professions would do nothing to aid the public in terms of costs or delay?

The Attorney-General

The Royal Commission, which went into the matter in great detail, heard a great deal of evidence. It said that in terms of costs the total amount of work would remain broadly the same and that the intervention of a barrister with deeper specialist experience and an independent view could often assist in early settlement. The point was considered by the Royal Commission, which concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that fusion would materially improve the situation.

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