To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on the changes being made to the Very High Cost Civil Cases budget; and how such cases are identified before litigation begins.
No changes are currently planned for the Very High Cost Civil Cases (VHCCC) budget for 2006-07. VHCCCs are case managed by the LSC's Special Cases Unit (SCU). They are identified when the LSC receives the solicitor's estimated costs to conclude the case. If the actual or likely costs exceed the sum of £25,000, the case is automatically referred to the SCU. There may be other requests such as authority to use a QC and this would trigger a referral to the SCU. In addition, all multi party actions are referred to the SCU as they would be likely to satisfy the criteria for SCU referral.