HC Deb 13 July 1999 vol 335 cc164-5W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what role the Community Legal Service will have in relation to representation at employment tribunals. [90193]

Mr. Vaz

Under the Access to Justice Bill, civil legal aid will be replaced by the Community Legal Service fund. For proceedings before the employment tribunals all help short of advocacy will continue to be available. Meanwhile, the Government are conducting a review of all tribunals to assess the extent to which current procedures and other arrangements, including representation, comply with our ECHR and EU obligations, and to identify the options for ensuring compliance in the future. The Government believe that it would be premature to make any decisions on extending publicly funded representation to tribunal proceedings until the review has been completed. The wider Community Legal Service, through Community Legal Service Partnerships (CLSPs), will provide the framework for comprehensive local networks of good quality legal and advice services supported by co-ordinated funding, based on the needs of local people. The CLSPs will base their planning and funding decisions on an assessment of local needs, which will include the need for help with employment disputes.