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Lawyers (Civil Service)

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Prime Minister what steps she is taking to ensure that Government lawyers are included in key policy-making decisions.

It is for Ministers to seek legal advice from within the Government legal service on these matters.

To ask the Prime Minister how many vacancies for qualified lawyers have arisen in the Civil Service over the past year; how many have been filled; and what information she has on the reasons for the shortfall.

In the period 1 January 1987 to 30 November 1987, 104 vacancies for lawyers arose in the Government legal service and appointments were offered to 49 applicants.The position in the Crown prosecution service is more complex, as the total complement of lawyers was increased during the relevant period. On 1 December 1986 there were 363 vacancies. In the period ending 30 November 1987 a further 306 vacancies arose, of which 178 were newly created posts and 128 resulted from retirements, resignations and deaths. In the same period, 180 vacant posts were filled, leaving 489 vacant on 30 November 1987.Increasing demand for the services of lawyers has stimulated competition for lawyers of the quality required by the Government legal service and the Crown prosecution service.

To ask the Prime Minister what assessment she has made of the effects on the work of Government Departments of unfilled vacancies among lawyers in Government service.

Unfilled vacancies result in increased work loads for members of the Government legal service, and it is the Government's policy to fill these vacancies as soon as possible.