HC Deb 13 December 1954 vol 535 cc86-7W
66. Mr. Page

asked the Attorney-General whether he is satisfied that Section 2 (2) (e) of the Legal Aid and advice Act, 1949, whereby a legally-aided litigant may be ordered to pay the costs of his successful opponent, has given adequate protection against hardship to a successful unaided litigant; and what consideration he has given to the promotion of amending legislation.

The Attorney-General

As I said to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) on 22nd November, the question of the payment of costs of a successful opponent of an assisted person was fully considered by the Rushcliffe Committee in 1945 and by this House in 1949, and the provisions of Section 2 (2) (e) of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, were then agreed to provide the most satisfactory solution to this difficult problem. Since then various suggestions for dealing with it differently have been made, but there are serious disadvantages to all of them. With regard to the latter part of my hon. Friend's Question, I would again refer him to my answer of 22nd November, when I said that the matter will no doubt be reconsidered when a general review of the Act takes place.

70. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Attorney-General what steps he is taking to enable intending litigants to determine whether they should initiate proceedings in the High Court or in the county courts under the jurisdiction which the Government has expressed its intention to extend.

The Attorney-General

The terms of the proposed legislation should assist intending litigants to determine in which court they should sue.