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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr Bryant t asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -

What facilities are available to assist a person of limited means to take legal action against War Service Homes Division where the person considers that a breach of contract has occurred?

Mr Menzies - The Attorney-General has supplied the following answer to the honorable member's question: -

There is no specific provision in any Commonwealth law for legal aid for a person merely because that person wishes to sue the Director of War Service Homes in respect of a matter arising out of a contract between him and the Director. If a person contemplating litigation is an exserviceman or dependant of an ex-serviceman he may obtain advice from the Commonwealth Legal Service Bureau and the bureau will, if he so wishes, present his case to the Director. However, the bureau will not ordinarily, in such a case, conduct litigation as his solicitor. Under the High Court Rules a person suing in the original jurisdiction of the High Court may apply under Order 16, Part III. of the Rules for leave to sue as a poor person if he can otherwise satisfy the requirements of that part. Where the intending litigant elects to sue the Director in the Supreme Court of a State he will be entitled to the legal assistance provided by that State on the same condition as any other litigant in that court. The circumstance that he is suing the Commonwealth or an instrumentality of the Commonwealt h will not affect whatever entitlement he has as a person of a particular class under the State law.

Deputation on Housing.

Mr Ward d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Did he receive a telegram from the Building Industry Congress contesting his claim that no crisis existed in the home-building industry and offering to send representatives to Canberra to place evidence before him to prove just how desperate the position is really becoming?

2.   If so, has he accepted the offer, and when does he propose to meet the representatives of the congress?

Mr Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Yes.

2.   I promised the congress to study any new material facts on the situation which it can send along to me. Material has now been forwarded to me, and is being studied.

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