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4 Mar 2010 : Column 1344W—continued

Legal Aid Scheme: Negligence

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on legal aid for medical negligence cases in each of the last 10 years. [320008]

Bridget Prentice: Amount spent net of receipts on civil representation together with the value of claims submitted under legal help, under the clinical negligence category of law, in each of the last 10 years is shown in the following table.

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£ million
Civil representation Legal help

Expenditure Value of claims submitted































Civil representation includes work carried out under a legal aid certificate in matters that may or do proceed to court. Net expenditure is net of funding that is recovered, including from 'settled cases' where the other side (i.e. the non-legally aided client) agrees to pay costs.

Legal help includes initial legal advice. The figures are only available from January 2000, when contracting was introduced. The value quoted in the table is the value of claims that providers have submitted.


Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many prisoners from (a) the UK, (b) Ireland and (c) other European Economic Area countries serving mandatory life sentences have been released in each of the last five years; [320068]

(2) how many offences of (a) murder, (b) rape, (c) other homicide, (d) attempted murder and (e) attempted rape had been committed by offenders on End of Custody Licence. [320070]

Mr. Straw: The information requested is currently being collated by officials. I will write to the hon. Member once this work is complete and place a copy of the letter in the Library.

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners from (a) Ireland and (b) other European Economic Area countries with mandatory life sentences are subject to probation supervision with a residential address in the UK. [320069]

Mr. Straw: This information is no longer held centrally and to collate it now would require a manual checking of paper files held in local probation areas, which can be undertaken only at a disproportionate cost.

The life licence lasts for the rest of the offender's life. Therefore, any life sentence prisoner residing in the UK would be subject to immediate recall to custody if he breached the conditions of his life licence.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many prosecutions have been brought following the discovery of pornographic or violent images on mobile phones seized from prisoners; [320101]

(2) whether any prisoner has been charged with corrupting a public official during the last 12 months. [320081]

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Claire Ward: The Court Proceedings Database holds information on defendants proceeded against, found guilty and sentenced for criminal offences in England and Wales. The Court Proceedings Database does not hold specific information on offences beyond descriptions provided by the statutes under which prosecutions are brought. Information available centrally on defendant's proceeded against does not identify whether the defendant is a prisoner.

Prisons: Mobile Phones

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated research into the means by which illicit mobile phones are brought into prisons. [320096]

Maria Eagle: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has not commissioned specific research into the means by which illicit mobile phones are brought into prisons. However, phones enter prisons by the same routes as other contraband: visitors; over the wall; post and parcels; reception; and remand prisoners and staff.

David Blakey CBE QPM DL, formerly Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Constable of West Mercia, was commissioned by the Director General of NOMS, at the Justice Secretary's request, with undertaking a review of the effectiveness of HM Prison Service's measures for disrupting the supply of illicit drugs in prisons.

Mr. Blakey confirmed the five main routes for illicit drugs to get into prisons, and noted that the use of each route and the traffic flowing along it will alter from time to time and from place to place. He recognised the link between the availability of phones in prisons and the smuggling of illicit drugs. NOMS is determined to address the risks that mobile phones present to security and to the safety of the public. Our strategy is to: minimise the number of mobile phones entering prisons; find mobile phones that are smuggled into prisons; and disrupt mobile phones that we cannot find.

Prisons: Overcrowding

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what mechanisms are planned to assist new private prisons to reduce levels of prison overcrowding. [320094]

Maria Eagle: Crowding levels are set and managed carefully by the National Offender Management Service. Prison crowding occurs when the number of prisoners in an accommodation unit exceeds the certified normal capacity (CNA) of that unit. A prison's "certified normal accommodation" (CNA) is therefore its agreed capacity when there is no crowding. A prison's "operational capacity" is the maximum number of prisoners it is allowed to hold over and above CNA taking into account control, security and the proper operation of regimes. In addition operational managers must ensure that each cell used for the confinement of prisoners has sufficient heating, lighting and ventilation and is of adequate size for the number of prisoners to be held in it. Operational capacity in prisons is set by Directors of Offender Management on behalf of the Secretary of State in both publicly managed and contracted establishments.

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The Government are committed to increasing substantially the capacity of the prison estate and plans to provide 96,000 places by 2014.

On 27 April 2009 the Justice Secretary announced that the Ministry of Justice plans to build up to five new 1,500 place prisons. The private and third sector will be invited to bid for the construction and operation of these new prisons and places are currently planned to be provided on an uncrowded basis.

Repossession Orders: Chelmsford

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many court orders for the repossession of homes in West Chelmsford constituency have been issued in each of the last five years. [320352]

Bridget Prentice: The following table shows the numbers of claims leading to orders being made for the repossession of property by mortgage lenders and landlords in the West Chelmsford constituency in each of the last five years.

These figures represent the numbers of claims leading to orders being made. This is more accurate than the number of orders, removing the double-counting of instances where a single claim leads to more than one order. It is also a more meaningful measure of the number of homeowners who are subject to court repossession actions.

These figures do not indicate how many properties have actually been repossessed. Repossessions can occur without a court order being made, while not all court orders result in repossession.

Tables showing the numbers of possession claims leading to an order in each constituency of England and Wales and in each year since 2000 for mortgages and 2003 for landlords have been placed in the Library of the House.

Number of mortgage( 1) and landlord( 2,3) possession claims leading to orders made( 4,5,6,7) for properties in West Chelmsford constituency, 2005-09

Mortgage possession Landlord possession
















Notes: 1. Includes all types of mortgage lenders. 2. Includes all types of landlord whether social or private.
3. Landlord actions include those made under both standard and accelerated procedures. Landlord actions via the accelerated procedure enables the orders to be made solely on the basis of written evidence for shorthold tenancies, when the fixed period of tenancy has come to an end. 4. The number of claims that lead to an order includes all claims in which the first order, whether outright or suspended, is made during the period. 5. The court, following a judicial hearing, may grant an order for possession immediately. This entitles the claimant to apply for a warrant to have the defendant evicted. However, even where a warrant for possession is issued, the parties can still negotiate a compromise to prevent eviction. 6. Includes outright and suspended orders, the latter being where the court grants the claimant possession but suspends the operation of the order. Provided the defendant complies with the terms of suspension, which usually require the defendant to pay the current mortgage or rent instalments plus some of the accrued arrears, the possession order cannot be enforced. 7. All figures are rounded to the nearest 5. Source: Ministry of Justice.

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Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) disciplinary and (b) capability procedures have been (i) initiated and (ii) completed in his Department in each of the last five years; how much time on average was taken to complete each type of procedure in each such year; how many and what proportion of his Department's staff were subject to each type of procedure in each such year; and how many and what proportion of each type of procedure resulted in the dismissal of the member of staff. [320625]

Ann McKechin: No disciplinary or capability procedures have been initiated or completed in the Scotland Office in each of the last five years.

Departmental Paper

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what (a) suppliers and (b) brands of (i) paper and (ii) paper products his Department uses; and what his Department's policy is on the procurement of those materials. [320026]

Ann McKechin: The Scotland Office participates in a contract, let by the Scottish Government, which prescribes the purchase of paper, and paper products, from recycled sources.

Departmental Temporary Employment

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which companies his Department used to provide temporary staff in 2008-09; how many temporary staff were employed in that year; and what the monetary value of contracts with each such company in that year was. [320249]

Ann McKechin: Details of the companies used by the Scotland Office to provide temporary staff in 2008-09 are provided in the following table;

Company Number of staff Cost (£)







Michael Page International



Scottish Government

David Mundell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many meetings (a) he, (b) his predecessors and (c) other Ministers in his Department had with Scottish Executive Ministers in each month since May 2007. [320375]

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Mr. Jim Murphy: Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Public Accounts Commission

Illegal Immigrants

Mr. Syms: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission how many staff the National Audit Office has appointed who were later discovered to be illegal immigrants since 2005. [320438]

Mr. Alan Williams: The National Audit Office has not appointed any staff since 2005 later discovered to be illegal immigrants.

Trade Unions

Mr. Syms: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission how many days staff of the Public Accounts Commission spent on trade union activity in the latest year for which figures are available; and what recent estimate has been made of the annual cost to the public purse of such activity. [320672]

Mr. Alan Williams: No days were spent on trade union activity in 2009.

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