§ 3.0 p.m.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (LORD WILSON OF LANGSIDE)
My Lords, I beg to move that the Legal Aid (Extension of Proceedings) (Scotland) Regulations 1969 be approved, my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor has explained the purpose of the Legal Aid (Extension of Proceedings) Regulations 1969 which relate only to England and Wales. The Scottish Regulations make a similar provision for the extension of the Legal Aid Scheme in Scotland to cover proceedings which are partly in respect of defamation or verbal injury. Such proceedings are at present excluded from the Legal Aid Scheme in terms of Part II of Schedule 1 to the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1967 and it is, therefore, possible for a legally aided pursuer to lose his entitlement to legal aid if the defender enters a counterclaim for defamation or verbal injury. My right honourable friend, having sought the opinion of the Law Society of Scotland, accepts the view of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee that in these circumstances the pursuer should continue to be entitled to receive legal aid and has accordingly made these Regulations. As with the corresponding Regulations for England and Wales it is only in the case of proceedings in which such a counterclaim is made that the extension of legal aid in Scotland to proceedings partly in respect of defamation or verbal injury will apply.
Provision is made in the Schedule to the corresponding Regulations for England and Wales for the extension of legal aid to certain types of civil proceedings in magistrates' courts. There is no necessity for similar provision to be made in the Scottish Regulations: proceedings of this type are taken in Scotland in the sheriff court and, therefore, already qualify for legal aid. The effect of the Scottish Regulations is to make only a very minor extension to the Legal Aid Scheme in Scotland, but one which may prevent the possibility of injustice arising. It is, therefore, worth while. I beg to move.
Moved, That the Legal Aid (Extension of Proceedings) (Scotland) (Regula- 906 tions 1969, be approved.—(Lord Wilson of Langside.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.