§ Mr. Ruffley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list(a) the London barristers' chambers and (b) the London solicitors' firms that have performed services for his Department (i) since 1 May 1997 and (ii) in the equivalent period preceding that date, indicating the remuneration paid in each particular case. 
§ Mr. Denham
[holding answer 8 February 1999]The information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General appointed Philip Sales as First Junior Treasury Counsel (Common Law) and Jonathon Crowe as First Junior Treasury Counsel (Chancery) to advise and represent the Government in their important civil cases. In addition, the Attorney-General maintains at present two London panels of junior Counsel whom departments are expected to use for the rest of the government's civil litigation. The panels currently comprise 103 barristers from 42 different sets of chambers. The Attorney-General will shortly appoint a third panel of very junior barristers.
The Attorney-General's individual nomination is required before a barrister who is not one of the approved panels can be instructed to appear for the government in litigation.
Departments may use firms of solicitors in addition to Her Majesty's Treasury Solicitor and their departmental legal advisers, for example, where the relevant expertise lies in the private sector. The relationship is subject to the usual confidentiality which operates between lawyer and client.128W
The Department of Health Headquarters (being the Departmental offices other than the NHS Executive regional offices) has not used London solicitors during the time under consideration.
As part of an arrangement made with the regional health authorities prior to their absorption into the Department as regional offices of the NHS Executive on 1 April 1996, the Department have continued to use outside solicitors (not all in London) for litigation that was already underway and for land transactions. However, identifying each firm of solicitors and specifying the amount paid to them would involve disproportionate cost.