HC Deb 11 July 1985 vol 82 cc489-90W
Rev. Martin Smyth

asked the Attorney-General what was the cost of advertising the legal aid scheme by television, public press and bill posting during each of the financial years 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 in (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Scotland and (c) England and Wales.

The Attorney-General

No records were kept of the cost of advertising the legal aid scheme in Northern Ireland prior to 1 April 1982, when the Lord Chancellor assumed responsibility. The cost of advertising the scheme in the financial years 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 has been as follows:

1982–83 45,250
1983–84 36,420
1984–85 47,930

These costs include not only the cost of advertising the scheme in the ways mentioned in the question but also the production and supply of leaflets and posters and the publication of the legal aid solicitors list.

The provision of legal aid in Scotland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. No public money has been used to

cases alleging "medical negligence" which incorporates all medical causes of action, including those arising in hospitals.

1980–81 54
1981–82 63
1982–83 95
1983–84 149
1984–85 144

A random check of a small sample of these cases indicates that approximately 80 per cent. of cases in this category relate to causes of action against hospitals or hospital doctors.

Rev. Martin Smyth

asked the Attorney-General in how many cases in which legal aid certificates were issued in the five years 1980 to 1985, for proposed actions against hospitals or hospital doctors in Northern Ireland, court action actually followed; of those, in how many cases damages were awarded against the defendant; and how many cases were dismissed.

The Attorney-General

Statistics in the precise form requested are not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, information on "medical negligence" in general is available and is shown in the following table. These results are compiled from the number of cases concluded in each year and not from the number of legal aid certificates issued.

advertise the legal aid schemes in Scotland or in England and Wales in the ways mentioned. However, a leaflet on legal advice and assistance in Scotland is available, at a cost to public funds of around £1,500 in each of the years to which the question relates. In respect of the scheme in England and Wales, various leaflets and posters, and a short film, have been produced; and information is available on Prestel. The cost to public funds of advertising the scheme in England and Wales in these ways for the years in question was as follows:

1980–81 16,000
1981–82 21,500
1982–83 28,500
1983–84 29,500
1984–85 64,500