§ MR. FIRTH
asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether the statement made at the last meeting of the City of London Union that the costs of the recent Hampstead Hospital case amount to £40,000 to £60,000 has any foundation in fact; and, whether he has now ascertained what is the estimated amount of such cost; and, whether there is any and what statutory authority enabling the Metropolitan Asylums Board to expend the money of London ratepayers in such litigation, or upon what ground such expenditure is approved by the Local Government Board?
§ MR. DODSON
Sir, I do not know what the costs in this case amount to; but I think that there can be no doubt that this statement that such costs amount to either of the sums in question must be an exaggeration, as the costs of the managers up to the beginning of the present year did not amount to one-sixth of the last-named sum. I am not aware that there is any express statutory authority enabling the managers to pay the costs of the proceedings which have been instituted against them; but, having been advised by high legal authority that they had a good defence, it was open to them, as to any other public body, to defend what they believed to be their legal rights, and, having regard to 364 the importance of the subject, they might have been exposed to reproach had they failed to do so.