HC Deb 20 April 2004 vol 420 cc463-4W
Mr. Roger Williams

To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, (1) how many new solicitors firms have undertaken contracts with the Legal Services Commission since 2000. [165842]

(2) how many solicitors firms in England and Wales have withdrawn from a Legal Services Commission contract in each year since 2000. [165843]

Mr. Lammy

Between January 2000 and 31 March 2004, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) has awarded 755 new civil contracts to solicitors' firms. Since contracting for criminal legal aid began in April 2001, the LSC has awarded 412 new criminal contracts to solicitors' firms.

The LSC does not collect data centrally on the number of solicitors' firms that have withdrawn from legal aid work. The number of contracts that have been terminated by the LSC in each year (which includes cases where solicitors have withdrawn voluntarily) is set out below.

Civil Contracts

April 2000 to March 2001: 700

April 2001 to March 2002: 539

April 2002 to March 2003: 408

April 2003 to March 2004: 633

Criminal contracts

April 2001 to March 2002: 146

April 2002 to March 2003: 151

April 2003 to March 2004: 317