§ Mr. Rees-Davies
asked the Attorney-General what action has been taken, and whether full action will be taken, to effect the collection of all sums receivable by the Legal Aid Fund; and, in the light of the statement in the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General to the effect that the auditor appointed by the Lord Chancellor had been unable to satisfy himself that during the year ended 31st March, 1953, proper action had been taken to effect collection of all sums receivable by the Legal Aid Fund, if he will make a statement generally on the position arising thereon.
Under the provisions of the Legal Aid Scheme, 1950, it is the responsibility of the area committees set up by that scheme to recover moneys payable by assisted persons, to enforce orders and agreements made in favour of assisted persons and to protect and enforce charges for the benefit of the Legal Aid Fund. The area committees exercise their responsibilities directly in the collection of contributions and through the solicitors of assisted persons (in whose favour the order for payment has been made) in the recovery of costs and enforcement of charges, except in cases where, under the provisions of Regulation 16 of the Legal Aid (General) Regulations, 1950 (as amended), enforcement proceedings are taken in the name of the Law Society. These arrangements are working satisfactorily, but some debts are irrecoverable, mainly owing to the lack of means of some of the persons against whom orders for costs have been made.