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MMR Vaccine: Legal Aid

Volume 456: debated on Friday 2 February 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what public interest was served by the legal aid funding of MMR/MR vaccine litigation. (118261)

The case involved allegations that, as a consequence of a national vaccination campaign, children were very seriously injured because the vaccine in question was defective. With the introduction of the Access to Justice Act 1999 ‘public interest’, as defined in the Funding Code, became an element of the grounds for funding. However, the MMR action began in the 1990s and therefore no formal assessment of ‘public interest’ was made.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Legal Services Commission plans to recover legal aid fees paid to barristers employed in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. (118262)

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has no plans to recover legal aid fees paid to barristers involved in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. It is for the court to assess the costs to be paid in such cases and is not a decision for the LSC.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Legal Services Commission proposes to refer the barristers employed in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation to the Bar Council. (118263)

The Legal Services Commission has no plans to refer the barristers involved in the MMR/MR litigation to the Bar Council.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Legal Services Commission plans to recover fees paid for research funded by legal aid in connection with the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. (118264)

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has no plans to recover legal aid fees paid to researchers involved in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. It is for the court to assess the costs to be paid in such cases and is not a decision for the LSC.