HL Deb 20 December 1967 vol 287 cc1441-3

2.52 p.m.


My Lords, with the permission of the House, may I now make a Statement about legal education. Training for the legal profession is a field in which a number of academic and professional bodies are actively concerned, and in which they are doing very good work. Nevertheless, it is also a matter in which the public have a very real interest. The administration of justice itself depends upon there being an adequate supply of lawyers properly trained for their profession. I have come to the conclusion that the efforts of the professional and academic bodies would be fortified, and the public interest served, by the setting up of a Committee to promote co-ordination between these bodies and to give advice on the many aspects of this problem which are now arising and will continue to arise.

After consultation with the Senate of the Four Inns of Court, the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Society of Public Teachers of Law and the Association of Law Teachers, and with their full agreement, I have therefore appointed a Committee with the following terms of reference: 1. To advance legal education in England and Wales by furthering co-operation between the different bodies now actively engaged upon legal education; 2. To consider and make recommendations upon training for a legal professional qualification in the two branches of the legal profession, with particular reference to:

  1. (a) The contribution which can be made by the Universities and Colleges of Further Education, and
  2. (b) The provision of training by the Law Society and the Council of Legal Education, the co-ordination of such training, and of qualifying examinations relating thereto;
3. To consider and make recommendations upon such other matters relating to legal education as the Lord Chancellor may from time to time refer to it or as the Committee itself, with the approval of the Lord Chancellor, decides to consider.

The Chairman of the Committee will be Mr. Justice Ormrod, and its other members will be:

Mr. Arthur L. Armitage, M.A., LL.B., the President of Queens' College, Cambridge, and President of the Society of Public Teachers of Law;

Mr. Peter Bristow, Q.C., of the Senate and the Bar Council;

Professor Francis R. Crane, LL.B., Professor of Law at Queen Mary College, University of London, and a member of the Society of Public Teachers of Law;

Mr. Robin Dunn, Q.C., of the Senate and the Bar Council;

Mr. Martin L. Edwards, Chairman of the Education and Training Committee of the Council of the Law Society;

Mr. L. C. B. Gower, M.B.E., one of the Law Commissioners;

Mr. Derek Hodgson, Q.C., of the Senate and the Bar Council;

Dr Stanley B. Marsh, B.Com., LL.B., Ph.D., who is Vice-Chairman of the Association of Law Teachers and Head of the Law Department at the College of Commerce, Manchester;

Professor Sir George Pickering, F.R.S., M.D., F.R.C.P., Regius Professor of Medicine, Oxford University;

Mr. John Renwick, who is President of the Law Society;

Mr. Henry E. Sargent, who is Vice-President of the Law Society;

Mr. George Seabrooke, Chairman of the Association of Law Teachers; and

Professor John F. Wilson, M.A., who is Professor of Law at the University of Southampton and a member of the Society of Public Teachers of Law.


My Lords, may I thank the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for making this very full- Statement on a subject which is of great importance to the legal profession. For my part, I welcome the announcement that a Committee of this kind—and it is a very strong Committee—should be appointed for this task, and I would express the hope, which I believe the Lord Chancellor shares, that this will lead to something for which I think he and I have for many years hoped; that is, speedier co-ordination between the various bodies and the speedier creation of a common system of education, so far as possible, for the two branches of the legal profession.


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble and learned Viscount for what he has said. The subject to which he has referred, in which I am equally interested, will certainly be among the first matters which this Committee will consider.