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Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: This is rather like having an old age person's pass. If you get an OAP's pass you pay less fees irrespective of your financial position. Surely we want the Government to accept that fees should be set at an affordable level for those who do not have the advantage of total avoidance through having an OAP's pass.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: But it is not targeted by virtue of one criteria. The whole point, I emphasise, is that those who can pay should pay, and should pay in full. Those who cannot pay, or who are vulnerable, or who fall into a special category of vulnerability by virtue of the nature of the case—for example, those involved in family and adoption cases—should pay at a lower, subsidised rate. So those who cannot pay will be assisted; those who can pay will be made to do so.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: I shall have a third shot. Will those who can pay be paying for those who cannot? That is the issue.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: The Committee will notice that the Minister does not rise to answer that fundamental point.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I have answered it five times. I do not believe that repetition brings clarity.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: I believe that Members of the Committee do not accept what the Minister has just said. We shall not inquire behind the veiled curtain as to what happened as regards Her Majesty's Treasury. Almost certainly, there would have been a huge debate between the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Treasury. I know that the Minister cannot divulge to us the way in which she undoubtedly fought our case for us behind the scenes and lost.

When I gave way to the Minister rather than her giving way to me, I was merely commending the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donaldson, on his plea in mitigation. But a plea in mitigation is based on the premise that the Minister is guilty. I give the noble Baroness the opportunity of putting everything right. She has already said that the Lord Chancellor has a duty to facilitate access to justice. That is all that the amendment seeks to do. I hoped that she might accept it. I should like to test the opinion of the Committee.

10.5 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 132) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 37; Non-Contents, 36.

18 Feb 2003 : Column 1126

Division No. 3


Anelay of St Johns, B.
Attlee, E.
Blatch, B.
Bridgeman, V.
Burnham, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Dean of Harptree, L.
Donaldson of Lymington, L.
Geddes, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Goodhart, L.
Greaves, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hylton, L.
Kimball, L.
Lyell, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Montrose, D.
Noakes, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selborne, E.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Slynn of Hadley, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.


Ahmed, L.
Andrews, B.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Borrie, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dixon, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Gale, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Judd, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Thornton, B.
Whitaker, B.
Winston, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

18 Feb 2003 : Column 1126

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

        House adjourned at sixteen minutes past ten o'clock.

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