HC Deb 02 May 1972 vol 836 cc76-7W
57. Mr. Rose

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will now reconsider the need for legal aid before industrial tribunals; and whether he will call for evidence from employers, unions and the chairmen of tribunals concerning this problem.

Mr. Chichester-Clark:

No. This question was carefully considered by the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the operation of the Legal Aid and Advice Acts in 1968 and again in 1971. On both occasions the committee concluded that the extension of legal aid to tribunals, including industrial tribunals, was not justified. No new factors have arisen in connection with the extension of industrial tribunals' jurisdiction under the Industrial Relations Act, 1971, which suggest any need for the Government to reconsider the question at this stage. Legislation introduced this Session does, however, enable applicants to tribunals to secure financial assistance to help cover the cost of legal advice in preparing their case.

72. Mr. Rose

asked the Secretary of State for Employment in what proportion of cases before industrial tribunals litigants have been represented by solicitors or barristers; and if he will list employees and employers separately.

Mr. Chichester-Clark:

Statistical records of such cases are not maintained on a regular basis. In 1969, however, an analysis of a sample of 200 cases showed that the applicant was represented by a solicitor in 12 per cent. of cases and by a trade union representative in 21 per cent. The respondent was represented by a solicitor in 18.5 per cent. of cases and by an employers' association in 3 per cent. In 74.5 per cent. of cases, neither party was legally represented.

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