HL Deb 30 November 1949 vol 165 cc1051-2

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands on the Order Paper in my name.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, in view of the recent announcement that the coming into operation of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, is to be deferred, to ensure continuity of provision of legal aid for members of His Majesty's Forces.]


My Lords, I regret that I am not yet able to make a statement on this subject, but I can assure the noble Viscount that His Majesty's Government have the matter under consideration.


My Lords, arising out of that reply, may I ask the noble Viscount whether he will draw the attention of his colleagues to the fact that, owing to the delay, it may be necessary to keep in force longer than was at first contemplated the transitional arrangements for legal aid for the Forces, particularly the Army and the Air Force? In these circumstances it may be necessary to make special arrangements to retain at their posts the staffs operating the present legal aid scheme, instead of allowing them to disperse, in order that the Forces themselves may not be prejudiced by any delay which is outside their control. I would ask the noble Viscount to bring these points to the notice of his colleagues in the proper quarter.


I will certainly bring to the attention of the Secretary of State for War the points which the noble Viscount has just put to me, but I would draw the noble Viscount's attention to the fact that the present scheme will continue until July of next year, by which time, I hope, some arrangement will have been made.


May I say that I hope that the arrangements will be made in plenty of time before July of next year, to enable the transition to take place smoothly?

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