Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many advisory committees, in addition to the Ethnic Minorities Advisory Committee, operate under the auspices of the Judicial Studies Board ; what are their terms of reference ; and if he will list the members and chairpersons of each of these advisory committees, including the Ethnic Minorities Advisory Committee.
Mr. Justice Brooke (Chairman)
Mr. Trevor Hall (Vice-Chairman)
Ms Kamlesh Bahl
Professor Michael Banton JP
Mrs. Jasu Chatwani
Judge Gerald Coles QC
Ms Shirley Daniel
Mrs. Sylvia Denman CBE
Mr. Navnit Dholakia OBE, JP
Mr. Peter Herbert
Dr. Zaka Ullah Khan OBE, JP
Judge Nicholas Medawar QC
Mr. Goolam Meeran
Ms Patricia Scotland QC
Professor Avrom Sherr
Mr. Ranjit Sondhi
District Judge Peter Wartnaby
Ms Anesta Weekes
Ms Cecilia Wells
Mr. John M. Taylor : Statistics are not kept on political affiliation. Judges are appointed without regard to political affiliation and members of the full-time judiciary may not engage in political activity.
Column 758implement (a) the progressive introduction of open advertisements for some judicial vacancies and (b) other reform measures he advocated in his Department's press notice 158.93 of 7 July 1993 on improvements in the judicial appointments system ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : In his speech to Her Majesty's Judges at the Guildhall on 7 July 1993 the Lord Chancellor said that because of the wide range of issues involved and the extensive preparatory work which his programme would entail, it would be some time before all the measures could be introduced over the whole field of judicial appointments. That work is currently in progress, and an announcement will be made as soon as practicable.
Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proposals he has to allow those whose applications to become magistrates are rejected to know the reasons for their rejection.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No proposals are required. Candidates are informed of the result of their applications and it is open to anyone not satisfied to seek further reasons from the local advisory committee. The desirability of balancing benches in terms of age, gender, ethnic origin, political affiliation and occupation means that many otherwise suitable applicants are not appointed.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The Lord Chancellor does not wish that any bench should become, or remain, unduly overweighted with the supporters of any one political party. It is for this reason that political allegiances are sought, but they are not a qualification or disqualification for appointment and candidates are not required to disclose this information. The key consideration for appointment is that a candidate should be suitable.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list for each civil service grade in his Department (a) the total number of persons employed and (b) the percentage of this figure that are women.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Details of the numbers of staff employed in each civil service grade are set out in the table. In column 2 of the table the total number of staff employed in each grade appears ; column 3 shows the percentage of women in each grade.
Civil Service grades in post as at 14 March 1994 Sustantive grade |Staff in post |Per cent. of |women in |grade --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Grade 1 |1 |0.0 Grade 2 |2 |0.0 Grade 3 |9 |11.1 Grade 4 |5 |0.0 Grade 5 |19 |15.8 Grade 5 solicitor |14 |21.4 Grade 6 senior principal |36 |22.2 Grade 6 legal |35 |31.4 Senior legal assistant |8 |25.0 Grade 7 principal |154 |29.9 Grade 7 legal |52 |61.5 Legal assistant |2 |0.0 Legal officer |1 |100.0 SEO |326 |34.4 Senior assistant statistician |2 |0.0 Senior information officer |1 |0.0 HEO |1,062 |52.1 Information officer |2 |50.0 Assistant statistician |1 |0.0 Chief typing manager |3 |100.0 Librarian |8 |50.0 HEO D |8 |62.5 Administration trainee |5 |20.0 EO |2,046 |65.5 Assistant information officer |1 |100.0 Senior personal secretary |15 |100.0 Typing manager |33 |100.0 Assistant librarian |8 |100.0 Support manager 2 |5 |0.0 Support manager 3 |31 |71.0 AO |4,432 |76.4 Personal secretary |69 |100.0 Interpreter |2 |100.0 AA |635 |71.0 Support grade band 1 |146 |61.0 Support grade band 2 |1,426 |59.5 Typist |737 |99.9 Specialist typist |1 |100.0 Trainee typist |4 |100.0 |------- |------- Total |11,347 |68.6
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will provide whatever information is available of those occasions on which he, or other Ministers in his Department, now or in the past, have signed public interest immunity certificates since 1979 ; and for what reasons.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No public interest immunity certificates have been signed either by me or by the Lord Chancellor since our appointments. Otherwise, the information requested is not held centrally.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps have been or may be taken against solicitors and counsel who do not ensure that an unsuccessful legally aided litigant is ordered to pay costs.
Mr. John M. Taylor : An unsuccessful legally aided litigant's liability to pay costs is provided for by section 17 of the Legal Aid Act 1988. Any solicitor or counsel acting for a litigant who is successful against a legally aided litigant would have to consider the question of costs against that background.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proportion of time and resources, on average, were spent on activities not directed to processing or furthering any individual cases (a) before and (b) after franchising and BS5750.
Mr. John M. Taylor : (a) All but a small number of the Legal Aid Board's central staff have been involved in the processing or furthering of individual cases. On average the staff not involved, excluding Legal Aid Board members, have numbered 60 : approximately 4 per cent. of the work force.
(b) The board's management systems accredited under BS5750 are the mechanism by which it processes work and therefore are an integral part of the resources directed to processing and furthering individual cases. A small central team of three staff is responsible for maintaining the documentation of the management system and ensuring the necessary control systems are in place to monitor compliance. The number of full-time equivalent staff employed on franchising will be between 70 and 80 ; approximately 5 per cent. of the board's employees.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of (a) civil and (b) criminal legal aid applications were processed by the Leeds legal aid board within (i) two weeks, (ii) six weeks and (iii) over six weeks for 1992-93.
Mr. John M. Taylor : (a) In 1992-93 the Leeds area office of the Legal Aid Board processed 74.9 per cent. of civil legal aid applications within two weeks and 94.1 per cent. within six weeks ; 5.9 per cent. took more than six weeks.
(b) The grant of criminal legal aid is for the most part the responsibility of the magistrates courts and the Crown court. However, in certain circumstances, area committees of the Legal Aid Board consider applications for review of refusal of grant by the courts. Information on the length of time taken to process applications for criminal legal aid or applications for review is not available.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department on what criteria the costs of successful legally aided litigants' costs are met out of the legal aid fund rather than by unsuccessful litigants ; and what was the cost to the legal aid fund of the meeting of costs in this way in the last year for which figures are available.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The order as to costs is a matter within the discretion of the courts. The information requested about the cost to the fund of paying successful legally aided litigants' costs is not available.
Mr. Martin Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what was the cost to public funds in 1992-93 of providing barristers (a) to prosecute cases and (b) to defend cases.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The cost of providing barristers to prosecute cases brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in 1992-93 was £81.7 million. Information on payments made by other prosecution agencies is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Payments to barristers in respect of criminal legal aid amounted to £136.5 million. Payments are also made from central funds in cases where a privately represented defendant is awarded a cost order on acquittal. However, it is not possible to identify payments made specifically to barristers from central funds since the information is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how the practice of paying counsel directly who have been instructed by solicitors acting for the Legal Aid Board accords with the professional rules and practice which should apply to counsel receiving fees directly from clients.
Mr. John M. Taylor : There is no professional rule which requires payments to counsel to be made by the instructing solicitors rather than by the solicitor's client. It is customary for payment to be made by the solicitor but this is not a requirement, professional or otherwise. Direct payment to counsel by the Legal Aid Board, or by any client, avoids unnecessary work and delay.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his latest estimate for 1993-94 of the percentage of (a) civil and (b) criminal legal aid applications processed by the Leeds legal aid board within (i) two weeks, (ii) six weeks and (iii) over six weeks.
Mr. John M. Taylor : (a) In the 11 months to the end of February 1994 the Leeds area office of the Legal Aid Board processed 81.2 per cent. of applications for civil legal aid within two weeks and 94.9 per cent. within six weeks ; 5.1 per cent. took more than six weeks. (b) The grant of criminal legal aid is for the most part the responsibility of the magistrates' courts and the Crown court. However, in certain circumstances, area committees of the Legal Aid Board consider applications for review of refusal of grant by the courts. Information on the length of time taken to process applications for criminal legal aid or applications for review is not available.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The board's management systems accredited under BS5750 are the mechanism by which the Legal Aid Board processes work and therefore represent a central call on the resources directed to processing and furthering individual cases. Over 90 per cent. of the board's employees are involved in such work. A small central team of three staff has the responsibility of maintaining the documentation of the management system and ensuring necessary control systems are in place to monitor compliance. The number of full-time equivalent staff employed on franchising will be between 70 and 80 ; approximately 5 per cent. of the board's employees.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of (a) civil and (b) criminal legal aid applications processed by the Leeds Legal Aid Board for the years (i) 1992- 93 and (ii) 1993-94 to date had to pay a contribution towards their legal aid costs.
Mr. John M. Taylor : (a) In respect of civil legal aid, the Legal Aid Board does not maintain separate figures for individual area offices on this point. Nationally the figures are as follows : (i) 14.1 per cent., and (ii) 14.2 per cent.
(b) The Legal Aid Board has only very limited involvement in the grant of criminal legal aid which, for the most part, is the responsibility of the magistrates courts and the Crown court. In 1992, the last year for which figures are available, about 5.8 per cent. of grants of criminal legal aid made by the courts were subject to a contribution.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department on how many occasions the Legal Aid Board has sought to argue that a successful legally aided litigant's costs can be paid out of the legal aid fund in any event and so it does not make any difference to the successful legally aided litigant or his solicitors and counsel whether the costs of the successful litigation against the Legal Aid Board are paid out of the legal aid fund or out of the Legal Aid Board's own budget for conducting litigation.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The information requested is not available. The decisions reached as to costs and costs orders made by the courts in proceedings involving the Legal Aid Board will, however, reflect all the circumstances of the litigation.
Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. and learned Member for Aberavon (Mr. Morris) of 7 March, Official Report, column 70, on Pepper v. Hart, what estimate has been made of the additional cost of litigation arising from the case ; and what issues regarding such cost are being taken up with the governing bodies of legal practitioners.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No formal estimate has been made of the additional cost of litigation directly attributable to the decision in Pepper v . Hart. The primary issues to which my earlier answer referred concern the availability of Hansard , the costs to those outside Government of tracing proceedings which might be relevant, and the ways in which such costs might be kept to a minimum.
Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. and learned Member for Aberavon (Mr. Morris) of 7 March, Official Report, column 70, on Pepper v. Hart, if he will list the practical steps which are being put into practice to correct mistakes in ministerial statements during the passage of legislation ; and in what manner such corrections will be published.
Mr. John M. Taylor : If it proves necessary to correct any inadvertent ambiguity or error in a ministerial statement made during the passage of a Bill, the aim is to do this as promptly as possible at an appropriate point during the further consideration of the Bill. The best means of doing so and reading such a correction into the official record will depend on a number of factors, including the stage which the Bill has reached and the nature of the proceedings at that point.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received and from whom, concerning the procedures by which he is seeking to reform the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Mr. Maclean : Since announcing in November 1992 our intention to replace the present criminal injuries compensation scheme with a tariff scheme we have received representations and comments from 143 hon. Members, either writing on their own behalf or on behalf of constituents, six members of the public, and from the following bodies :
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
General Council of the Bar
Faculty of Advocates, Scotland
Law Society of Scotland
London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
National Association of Victim Support Schemes
Trades Union Congress
Transport Salaried Staff Association
British Security Industry Association
Barking and Dagenham Community Police Consultative Group War Widows Association of Great Britain
Family Service Units
Various barristers and solicitors
Various local victim support schemes
Column 764Doncaster, (c) Rotherham and (d) Sheffield under section 11 funding for ethnic communities ; and what funding those projects will receive from his Department in 1994-95.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The titles of projects approved for funding under section 11 in Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield are shown in the table, together with budget allocation figures which have been notified as the basis for grant recipients' own expenditure in 1994-95 :
English as a Second Language : Support 4 Schools Enhancement of Careers Education, Guidance and Placement for Young People in the Doncaster Minority Ethnic Communities 1994-95 allocation--£100,338. Doncaster College of Further Education : Meeting the Needs of the Ethnic Minority Population 1994-95 allocation--£18,684.
Language and Curriculum Development (Schools) Rotherham Asian Youth 1994-95 allocation--£327,313. Rotherham College of Arts and Technology-- English Language Support 1994-95 allocation--£24,874. Sheffield
Bilingual English as a Second Language--Primary and Secondary Schools.
African Caribbean Education--Primary and Secondary Schools. Under 5s-- African and Caribbean and Asian communities.
Special Educational Needs of Black Pupils.
Education Social Work Support.
Careers Opportunities Race and Education.
Field Support and Strategy.
Community Liaison--Asian communities.
Additional Work with African Caribbean Young People.
Additional Work with Asian Young People.
Ethnic Minority Mental Health.
Day Services for Ethnic Minority Elders.
Multi-lingual Communication and Community Access Team.
Children and Young People--Social Services Support.
Asian Womens Support.
Community Group Development.
Information and Welfare Rights.
Black Employment and Economic Development.
Information support and Development.
Ethnic Minorities Occupational Health Initiative.
South Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority.
Community Fire Safety Education.
There is currently no approved section 11 project in Barnsley.