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Mr. Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the relative work load per case for (a) prosecution advocates and (b) defence advocates. [130412]

Mr. Lock: None. In developing a unified fee scheme my officials will work together with the Crown Prosecution Service; the General Council of the Bar; and the Law Society to identify areas where the work undertaken by the prosecution differs fundamentally from that undertaken by the defence.

Legal Aid

Mr. Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) legal practices and (b) solicitors in England and Wales were undertaking legal aid work in (i) 1990, (ii) 1995, (iii) 1999 and (iv) 2000. [130413]

Mr. Lock: The Legal Services Commission and its predecessor, the Legal Aid Board have always made payments to solicitors' offices, not to individual solicitors, or practices. It is therefore not possible to provide details of the numbers of individual solicitors undertaking legal aid work. The statistical information collected also relates to the financial year rather than the calendar year. The numbers of solicitors' offices receiving payment for undertaking legal aid work during the years in question were as follows:


Mr. Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many applications for legal aid were (a) accepted and (b) rejected in each year since 1990. [130416]

Mr. Lock: The numbers of legal aid applications granted and rejected, in each year for which information is available, were as follows:

Civil legal aid(1) Assistance by way of representation(1)

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Criminal magistrates(1) Criminal higher courts(1)

n/a = not available

(1) Financial years

(1) Calendar years

Mr. Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the total amount (a) paid and (b) received in respect of legal aid, broken down by (i) costs recouped under orders for costs, (ii) value-added tax, (iii) savings on national insurance payments and (iv) other income in the last year for which figures are available. [130414]

Mr. Lock: The Legal Aid Board (which was replaced by the Legal Services Commission on 1 April 2000) recovered costs totalling £318,366,000, overwhelmingly from matters dealt with in the civil courts. The Board paid costs to the opponents of funded clients totalling £2,229,000. It is not possible to separate out the proportion of either the receipts or payments that were paid under the orders for costs.

The Legal Aid Board was not required to account separately for VAT and some payment systems that it operated do not recognise VAT as a separate item. Since not all disbursements attract VAT, and not all solicitors and counsel are registered for VAT, it is not possible to calculate the amount of VAT that was paid out of, or into the legal aid Fund.

There are no national insurance savings that the Commission is aware of that had an effect on the Fund.

Other income to the legal aid Fund during 1999-2000 totalled £159,820,000. This includes such items as contributions paid by funded clients, moneys recovered through statutory charges placed on property gained or kept by funded clients with the benefit of legal aid, and interest on these charges.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department for what reason the Legal Aid Board was renamed; and what estimate he has made of the costs arising from this change. [130415]

Mr. Lock: The Legal Aid Board has not been renamed. It was replaced on 1 April 2000 by a new executive non-departmental public body--the Legal Services Commission--established under Part I of the Access to Justice Act 1999. The Commission is charged with establishing, maintaining and developing two new services for the provision of publicly funded legal services--the Community Legal Service and the Criminal Defence Service. The Commission has also taken over the functions of the Legal Aid Board in relation to any cases being conducted under the provisions of the Legal Aid Act 1988. The appointments of the Chair and members of the Commission were announced on 17 December 1999 and 9 March 2000 respectively. However, costs directly

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attributable to the naming of the Legal Services Commission are: Design and development of logotype, including tender (£6,587.13); Regulations on usage of logotype (£6,431.95); Nameplates for Regional offices (£3,666.00); Internet domain name registration (£141.00); Corporate seal (£120.00).

Owen McMahon

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, how many files he retains concerning activities of the RIC in Northern Ireland in 1922; for what reason files relating to the murder of Owen McMahon in March 1922 are withheld from public access; and when the last review of documents of this period was held and what its outcome was. [131380]

Mr. Lock: The Northern Ireland Court Service does not hold any records concerning the activities of the RIC or the murder of Owen McMahon in 1922. There is a Ministry of Home Affairs file on the case which is held by the Public Records (Northern Ireland) Office and which is open to the public. All records listed and indexed by the Public Records (Northern Ireland) Office for review have been completed up to 1970.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, how many of the written parliamentary questions tabled to his Department between 19 October 1999 and 20 April did not receive substantive answers, citing as the reason that the information was (a) not held centrally, (b) not held in the form requested and (c) not available. [131198]

Mr. Lock: According to departmental records of the relevant period:


Animal Experiments

Mr. Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his review of section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 will be completed. [130533]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prevents the disclosure of information about the use of animals in scientific procedures that has been provided in confidence. Under the proposals for the Freedom of Information Bill, all statutory bars are being reviewed, including section 24.

The maintenance of the necessary protection for individual scientists and their research institutions from animal rights extremists is a priority in the review of section 24 and I am considering very carefully how best

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it can be achieved. The extremists and the violence make openness more difficult than it would be otherwise. In view of this, a decision on whether to repeal or amend section 24 will not now be made until later this year.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will take steps to reduce the number of experiments on dogs conducted in UK research laboratories and breeding centres; and if he will make a statement; [130476]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Dogs are primarily used in medicinal drug research and development and in pharmaceutical safety and efficacy evaluations. They are also used, when no other species is suitable, in the evaluation of cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory problems in humans. Such work contributes to advances in human healthcare. Dogs are also used in the development of veterinary medicines and techniques.

In my replies I gave the hon. Member on 17 April 2000, Official Report, column 380W and on 12 July 2000, Official Report, column 595W, I stated that members of the public often find it particularly difficult to accept that species that are kept as domestic pets or companion animals, such as dogs, are also used in research to find cures for illnesses. Such animals must be purpose bred and supplied by designated establishments and can be used only if there is no viable alternative for that particular procedure.

Dogs are used in regulated procedures where their use is justified under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. There are no current plans to change the legislation. All applications to use protected animals in research are subjected to a detailed cost/benefit assessment by Home Office inspectors. The likely adverse effects on the animals concerned must be weighed against the benefit likely to accrue as a result of the proposed programme of work.

We are continuing to work to ensure that animals are only used where it is fully justified and where there are no alternatives which replace the use of animals, reduce the numbers of animals used, or refine the procedures in which they are used.

Figures in recent years reflect a downward trend in the use of dogs in research. I should emphasise that dogs are used only in about a quarter of one per cent. of all procedures.

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