Criminal Justice Bill, 1967: Money Resolution.

I move:

That it is expedient to authorise such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to amend criminal law and administration.

We are not agreeing to the Money Resolution to provide money for this measure.

Perhaps I should explain the need for the Money Resolution. The provisions of Part VII of the Bill allowing certain appeals to be made to the Supreme Court involve the granting of free legal aid to the defendants concerned under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act, 1962. It is envisaged that the number of cases that would need to be referred to the Supreme Court under these provisions would be very small and that accordingly the expenses involved in the granting of legal aid would not be significant.

The repeals provided for in the First Schedule to the Bill include the repeal of provisions in different enactments whereby local authorities may be liable to pay witnesses' expenses in certain criminal cases. In practice, the Exchequer has, for many years, accepted almost the entire liability for these expenses, the payments—from the Law Charges Vote—being made in some cases direct to the witnesses and in other cases by way of recoupment to local authorities. Exact figures are not available in respect of payments made by local authorities and not recouped, but it may be taken that the total for all local authorities would not exceed £2,000 per annum. It is because of monetary commitments as far as the Bill is concerned that the Money Resolution is necessary.

So long as it is clear that the Money Resolution is limited to these commitments, to the payment of witnesses' expenses by local authorities, and the provision of free legal aid, I agree, but I want, as some evidence of our attitude to the Bill as a whole, to say that we are not prepared to provide money for implementing the Bill as a whole. We have no objection to the limited objects to which the Minister has referred.

Question put and agreed to.
Money Resolution reported and agreed to.