§ 24. Mr. A. Evans
asked the Attorney-General the number of persons who have received legal advice and aid under the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949; and the cost to recent date.
The provisions of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, which relate to legal advice have not yet been brought into force. Legal aid under the Act has been available since 2nd October, 1950, for proceedings, starting in the Supreme Court. Since that date to 31st March, 1951, 15,219 certificates have been issued as well as 2,397 emergency certificates, and 155W approximately 9,000 poor persons' cases under the old rules were taken over by the new scheme in various stages of completion.
To the same date, the total cost to the Legal Aid Fund, including preparatory work from 1st September, 1949, was £366,536 of which £172,612 came from public funds, and the remainder from contributions, costs recovered and damages charged to the fund. In so far as these figures relate to the period 1st April, 1950, to 31st March, 1951, they are subject to audit.
§ 28. Mr. Wilkes
asked the Attorney-General the number and percentage at the latest convenient date, of cases in which after a certificate for legal aid has been issued by a local certifying committee the assisted person has not taken up the certificate granted on the ground that he cannot afford to pay his assessed contribution, and what is the cost of the scheme to date.
In the seven month period from 2nd October, 1950, to 30th April, 1951, the Law Society were prepared to grant Civil Aid Certificates in 26,343 cases, but 2,615 applicants did not accept the offer of a certificate. No information is available why these applicants refused certificates, and while some may have done so because they were dissatisfied with the financial terms upon which a certificate would be granted, others no doubt had other reasons, for example, because they had settled their differences since applying for aid so that there was no longer need of a certificate. As to the cost of the scheme, I refer to the answer I have just given to my hon. Friend, the Member for Islington, South-West (Mr. A. Evans).