HC Deb 31 July 1964 vol 699 cc470-1W
Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money was paid into the Legal Aid Fund, during the last convenient 12-month period, out of damages awarded to aided persons in respect of costs which were not recovered from the unsuccessful opponent of the aided person; and whether he will now introduce legislation to authorise the waiver of this statutory charge on the assisted person in appropriate circumstances.

Mr. Noble

£5,632 in the financial year 1962–63. The Legal Aid (Scotland) Act, 1949, requires that, where damages are recovered, any unpaid liabilities of the Legal Aid Fund should be a first charge on the sum recovered. I have power to modify this provision by regulation and have done so in the case of costs of alimentary awards to wives and children; but I should not feel justified in doing so in relation to other types of case.

Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, in view of the fact that in the First Schedule to the Legal Aid and Solicitors (Scotland) Act, 1949, the Scottish Land Court is included as one of the Courts in relation to whose proceedings legal aid may be given, but that the Statutory Instrument required to bring the Act into operation in this respect has not been made, thus denying crofters the legal aid which is necessary for small men, if he will take steps to remedy this situation without delay.

Mr. Noble

Under the 1949 and subsequent Acts, the scope of legal aid has been progressively extended. I am not yet able to say when it will be available in the Land Court, but I am having the matter examined.