HC Deb 25 March 2002 vol 382 cc650-1W
Mr. Frank Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for the re-introduction of legal aid in respect of civil claims for personal injuries and disease cases. [44992]

Ms Rosie Winterton

I have been asked to reply.

The Access to Justice Act 1999 excludes most personal injury claims from the scope of Community Legal Service funding. However funding is still available for personal injury claims against public authorities which allege serious wrongdoing, such as child abuse claims and actions against the police. A personal injury claim may also be funded if it has a significant wider public interest. Support funding remains available for exceptionally expensive cases. Public funding is also available for clinical negligence cases, as we recognise that costly investigative work is necessary for these cases to be brought.

We believe that conditional fee agreements provide a suitable alternative to public funding for those personal injury cases excluded from the scope of the Community Legal Service scheme, and we have no plans to re-introduce public funding for those cases.