Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Legal Proceedings on 4th March 1986.
Mrs Renée Short Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of legal proceedings have been instituted by private citizens against his Department during the last seven years.
Mr. Major Information regarding the number of cases of legal proceedings instituted by private citizens against the Department in England and Wales during the last seven years is not readily available prior to 1985, and the cost of obtaining the information would be disproportionate.
Since the beginning of 1985 476 such cases (embracing applications for judicial review in the High Court, appeals to the Court of Appeal from decisions of social security commissioners, actions by way of writ in the High Court, county court actions and originating applications to industrial tribunals) have been counted. It is not possible to give precise figures because the conduct of litigation commenced against the Department is shared by the solicitor’s office to the Department and Treasury Solicitor and there is no central point of control.
The figures do not include applications for leave to appeal and appeals to the Court of Appeal by private citizens against the decisions of the social security commissioners where the Secretary of State for Social Services was not a party. I have asked my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to let the hon. Member have the information relating to Scotland, which is a separate jurisdiction.