HL Deb 03 February 2003 vol 644 c2WA
Lord Morris of Manchester

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they agree with the figures published by the Legal Services Commission which show that successful claims in publicly funded clinical negligence cases have fallen to 24 per cent; and how this will impact on the claims for compensation from people with haemophilia who have been infected by hepatitis C by contaminated National Health Service blood products. [HL1135]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

Public funding has two distinct roles in clinical negligence claims: to investigate which potential claims are worth pursuing and to support those which are. Clinical negligence claims tend to be complex and investigation is needed to ascertain the merits of taking a case forward. More than half of all cases are not funded to proceed beyond the investigative stage. In 2001–02, 27 per cent of all cases that received some funding from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) were utimately successful in litigation. However, of cases which were allowed to proceed beyond the initial investigative stage, 57 per cent were successful. At all stages the case is subject to a merits test and the applicant to a means test.

Success rates for publicly funded cases have no impact on other, ongoing claims for compensation; each application is considered on an individual basis. The LSC may discharge a funding certificate at any point when it has evidence that funding is no longer justified on ground of either means or merits.