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Tribunals (Procedure)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

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asked the Attorney-General if he will institute an inquiry or appoint a committee to consider the procedure of all tribunals in the United Kingdom. to review in particular the question whether evidence on oath should be taken in all cases, and whether persons appearing before these tribunals should be given in all cases the right to be represented by an advocate, and a general right of appeal to an ordinary court of law: and if he will make a statement.

If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars, I will gladly investigate any specific tribunal which he has in mind. I do not, however, think that any useful purpose would be served by a general inquiry of the kind suggested in his Question.

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that I was not referring to any single case, but to the general principle? Does he not agree that the excellence of our legal system has been closely related to the rights of persons to have evidence taken on oath, and. if necessary, to be represented by an advocate, and will he also agree that, with the extension of legal aid, the main barrier to extending these procedures to tribunals has now disappeared?

I think that, on every occasion when new tribunals have been set up, Parliament, as it has shown recently, was anxious to investigate this question carefully, and I think that that will be a better way of safeguarding this matter.