HL Deb 24 March 1976 vol 369 cc760-2

Read 2a: Committee negatived.


9.5 p.m.

The LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord Elwyn-Jones) rose to move, That the Legal Aid (Extension of Proceedings) Regulations 1976, laid before the House on 10th March, be approved. The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, the purpose of these regulations is to extend legal aid to the Employment Appeal Tribunal which was established by the Employment Protection Act 1975 and which will come into operation on 30th March this year. Regulations which extend legal aid require Affirmative Resolutions of each House before they can come into operation, and these are the Resolutions which we are now considering.

Perhaps I should say that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hailsham, expressed his regret that he would not be able to be with us in the consideration of these regulations. I apprehend that he was not opposed to them, although I also apprehend that had he been here he would have made some observations about the parallelism, as he would put it, between the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the unlamented National Industrial Relations Court. But as I shall be spared the burden of dealing with observations in that direction, it will no doubt facilitate and hasten the speed of the consideration of the regulations which are presently before us.

My Lords, the Appeal Tribunal will be a superior court of record whose main function will be to hear appeals on points of law from Industrial Tribunals and from the Certification Officer. Most of the jurisdiction of the Appeal Tribunal is at present being exercised by the High Court and by the Court of Session, where legal aid is already and presently available, and before that it was exercised by the National Industrial Relations Court, as I have said, where legal aid was also available.

It is, therefore, plainly desirable in this important class or category of litigation for legal aid to be available for proceedings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. I accordingly commend these regulations to the House. Their effect will be to continue to make legal aid available in cases where it is already available, and they will therefore add little or nothing to the financial burden on the Legal Aid Fund. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Legal Aid (Extension of Proceedings) Regulations 1976, laid before the House on 10th March, be approved.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

Viscount LONG

My Lords, may I just thank the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack for his kind words about my noble and learned friend, who apologises for not being present. We know that he cannot be here tonight. I shall extend those kind words to him. All is quiet in the House while he is away, and peace reigns.

On Question, Motion agreed to.



My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Kirkhill, I beg to move the Motion standing in his name.

Moved, That the Legal Aid (Scotland) (Extension of Proceedings) Regulations 1976, laid before the House on 10th March, be approved.—(Lord Strabolgi.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.