HL Deb 14 March 2001 vol 623 cc95-6WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider that the number of barristers and solicitors in independent practice in England and Wales is excessive; and if so, why.


The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)

In a free society, the overall number of lawyers is a matter for the market to determine, not the Government. However, the Government, when purchasing services itself, is intent on achieving best value for money for the taxpayer. Lawyers are vital in ensuring access to justice for citizens, and especially the most needy in our society, and in underpinning a thriving economy. In addition, the legal services sector contributed 1.5 per cent to the Gross National Product and generated £1.5 billion in foreign earnings, thus adding to the economic prosperity of the country.