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What evaluation they have made of the cost-effectiveness of the MMR/MR vaccine litigation; and whether they have plans to investigate the circumstances in which the litigation came to be publicly-funded. [HL3419]
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has undertaken internal reviews of the MMR/MR litigation and monitored its progress as it does with all publicly funded multi-party actions. As litigation is still in progress, it would not be appropriate to comment further on this case. The funding for the MMR litigation commenced in the early 1990s. Since then, the LSC had made significant changes to the funding of multi-party actions generally. Key changes include the introduction of affordability criteria, tendering based on quality and price, and "risk rates" to share the risk between the LSC and the service providers, so that service providers would be unlikely to profit from a case which was unsuccessful.
Whether the Attorney-General has indicated an intention to outline the reasons why the cases against William Mackessy and others were withdrawn in the public interest; and, if so, what these reasons are. [HL3635]
The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): I have outlined the reasons in this case in a number of letters, including one to the noble Lord, and most recently in response to a request from the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee. Its report, which includes my response, has been published and has been placed in the Library of the House. I have also replied to an earlier question form the noble Lord (Official Report, 14/12/05, WA 16869).
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Adonis on 26 January (HL3485), whether other operations, similar to Operation Paladin at Heathrow airport, exist at other air and sea ports, for the identification and protection of children or adults who have been trafficked or smuggled into Britain; and, if not, whether they have plans for improvements in this area. [HL3701]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Kingston pilot is a three-month trial, which attempts to identify vulnerable children who are travelling to the UK on direct flights from Jamaica, taking place at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports. Airline staff participating in the Kingston pilot received child protection awareness training delivered by UKIS and the Metropolitan Police. A hotline manned by border control staff has been provided to airline check-in staff so that they can report concerns about children travelling to the UK during the trial. The pilot, which began on 31 October 2005, ran for three months. The results are currently being analysed to see whether the process can be rolled out to other areas of the world of even greater concern, in particular West Africa.
The use of a network of airline immigration liaison officers who are posted in most of the countries that give us greatest cause for concern with regard to minors, particularly unaccompanied asylum seeking minors. Some 892 inadequately documented children were denied boarding on flights to the UK between January and November 2005 after airline check-in staff referred to airline liaison officers.
The introduction of a new child visitor category in the Immigration Rules, which requires parents or guardians of children who are visa nationals to demonstrate that suitable arrangements have been made for the travel, reception and care of children intending to visit the UK.
How many legally aided liability cases involving a medicinal product or medical device were closed in the last year, indicating how many cases (a) proceeded beyond investigation; and (b) resulted in an award of damages or a settlement involving an agreement to pay damages. [HL3476]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Which 10 firms of solicitors have received the highest legal aid fees for product liability work involving a medicinal product or medical device in the last year; and, in each case, what was (a) the amount received; (b) the number of cases taken;
Which 10 barristers have received the highest legal aid fees for product liability work involving a medicinal product or medical device in the last year; and, in each case, what was (a) the amount received; (b) the number of cases taken; (c) the number of cases taken which proceeded beyond investigation; and (d) the number of cases taken which resulted in an award of damages or a settlement involving an agreement to pay damages; and whether the barrister concerned was Queen's Counsel or junior counsel. [HL3478]
What legally aided multi-party product liability actions, whether in negligence or in strict liability, there have been since 1990 in respect of a pharmaceutical product or medical device, indicating (a) the number of legal aid certificates issued; (b) the number of individual cases in which legal proceedings were issued; (c) the total amount of legal aid money spent; and (d) the number of individual claims receiving damages by settlement or award of court. [HL3479]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The geographical area and population size of each of the present police authority areas is in the attached table. No decisions have been made as yet on potential merged police authority areas so information on their area and population size cannot be given at this stage.
2 Feb 2006 : Column WA76
|Police Force/Authority||Geographic Area (sq. miles)||Population|
|Avon and Somerset||1,843||1,519,119|
|City of London||1||8,605|
|Devon and Cornwall||3,949||1,619,062|
|Metropolitan Police Service||599||7,420,617|
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