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German War Crimes Trials

Volume 416: debated on Monday 19 November 1945

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asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that the Bar Council has, in effect, prevented British barristers from appearing for the accused on trial at Nuremberg; that few German lawyers are willing to defend them and that consequently some of the accused have been unable to secure legal representation; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that the trials are conducted in accordance with British justice by having the accused properly represented.

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. Whilst the Bar Council has expressed on behalf of the Bar the view that it would be undesirable for English barristers to appear for the defendants at the Nuremberg Trial, there is no prohibition against such appearances. Although, however, the view of the Bar Council was not communicated to them not one of these defendants has in fact directly asked to be represented by English counsel, and, as far as I can ascertain, in only one case has any indirect inquiry been made of English counsel. On the other hand, every defendant is now represented by German counsel. Five of these were nominated by the court at the request of defendants. In all other cases the counsel were selected by the defendants themselves. They are distinguished members of their profession and I have no reason whatever to doubt that the defendants will be very adequately represented.