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Scottish Appeal Courts

Volume 892: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1975

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asked the Lord Advocate whether he is satisfied with the legal service offered to clients in the appeal courts.

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend consider it a bit unfair that a client should hire a lawyer to deal with his appeal and subsequently find that the lawyer, without consulting the client, has abandoned the appeal and then has the cheek to send the client a bill for f15 expenses, as happened in a case I recently reported to my right hon. and learned Friend? Why is the legal profession in Scotland allowed to behave in such a disgraceful manner?

My hon. Friend has had a reply to the letter he wrote to me on this subject and I think I have dealt with all the matters he raised therein in so far as they are matters for me. Matters of legal advice given to clients must, of course, be taken up with the legal advisers themselves. In so far as a client is dissatisfied with the legal advice he is given or the fee he is charged for it, that is a matter to be taken up with the appropriate professional body, either the Law Society of Scotland or the Faculty of Advocates.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman seek to end speculation that the recent decision of the English Appeal Court concerning the law on rape has no relevance for the position in Scotland, and that the Government have no intention of changing the Scottish law in this respect?

I can confirm the first part of the question. On the second part, if there is a review of the law on sexual offences generally it is appropriate that Scotland also should take account of that review.