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Royal Commission On Legal Services

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1977

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Q2.

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint a further person to the Royal Commission on Legal Services.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if he will recommend the appointment of an additional member to the Royal Commission on Legal Services.

In view of all that has happened since the Prime Minister appointed a Mr. Joseph Haines to the Royal Commission, including the publicaaion of a scandalous breach of confidence in a recent book, is he still convinced that Mr. Haines is a suitable person to sit in judgment on the British legal profession?

In view of that reply, will the Prime Minister tell the House by what criteria he judges whether a man is suitable to sit in judgment on the legal profession?

When I look at the hon. Gentleman, I have no doubts as to what is suitable.

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that, among other things, the Royal Commission will have to consider the arrangements foe determining the remuneration of the profession? Since one of the members, Mr. Haines, appears to get his remuneration by selling confidences to the highest bidder and since the legal profession exists, and only subsists, on the basis of trust and confidence between client and lawyer, does the right hen. Gentleman think that this gentleman has very much to offer?

The right hon. Gentleman has suffered a great deal from personal obloquy and should be the last person to pursue that sort of vendetta against someone else.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the ex-Leader of the Liberal Party is the last person who should be raising matters of this sort, because he was the man who opened supermarkets on the South Coast and got money from pensioners and others—

The right hon. Gentleman was not referring to an hon. Member of the House or I should have intervened earlier.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have never opened a supermarket or anything else on the South Coast.

It is a well-known fact that the right hon. Gentleman was involved in opening supermarkets and being paid appearance money by London and County Securities Limited when he was a director of that company and when the auditor had already published the result of his investigation on the accounts and the books of the company had been in default.