HC Deb 19 May 2003 vol 405 cc652-3W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement about the availability of legal aid to the families bereaved in the Potters Bar rail crash. [112990]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Public funding for the civil courts is available to applicants provided that the case is within the scope of the Community Legal Service scheme and that they satisfy the Legal Services Commission's means and merits tests for funding.

Families bereaved by the Potters Bar rail crash have the same access to public funding as others wishing to bring, defend, or be party to, civil proceedings. Individual claims would be expected to be pursued privately if the claimant's means exceed the financial eligibility criteria for public funding. However, the Commission also has discretion to waive the upper financial eligibility limit in order to fund a case where funding relates to the generic issues in a multi-party action, where there is likely to be a significant wider public interest in doing so.

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