HC Deb 02 July 1986 vol 100 c1002
9. Mr. Fairbairn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many appeals against refusal of legal aid were successful in the last three years for which figures are available.

Mr. Rifkind

No appeal may be made against the refusal of legal aid in criminal cases. In civil cases, 135 appeals were successful in 1981–82, 237 in 1982–83 and 224 in 1983–84.

Mr. Fairbairn

I thank and congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend and the Government on the sensitive response that they made to the criticism from both sides of the House on the scheme proposed under the Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill. May I say that the reforms announced improve not only on the Bill but on the present situation? If my right hon. and learned Friend deals with the same matters, which are still in contention, on Report he will earn the lasting gratitude of the people of Scotland, who are either accused by the state or find themselves in conflict with other citizens, including the state.

Mr. Rifkind

I have found my hon. and learned Friend to be appealing for many years, and I am happy that on this occasion his appeals have borne fruit. I accept that there was some convincing and persuasive argument that the system should be introduced at present. Of course, in due course the Government will bring forward detailed proposals that meet that requirement.