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Malaysia

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list each visit made to Malaysia by Mr. N. MacKillop of the Royal Hong Kong police in connection with the Carrian and related cases since 1983 ; whether the Malaysian authorities were formerly notified of each of these visits ; and whether the Malaysian authorities were given access to all the documents obtained in Malaysia by Mr. MacKillop, including those found in a vehicle in Kuala Lumpur.


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Mr. Goodlad : There was one visit to Malaysia by two senior officers of the Royal Hong Kong police, one of whom was Mr. N. MacKillop. The visit was official and was arranged through Interpol. At all times the Malaysian authorities were aware of the visit. No documents were seized and the officers concerned have no recollection of any documents being found in a vehicle in Kuala Lumpur.

Law of the Sea

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the United Kingdom timetable for signing the UN convention on the law of the sea.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The UN convention on the law of the sea--UNCLOS-- is no longer open for signature. We are considering whether to accept the proposed agreement on the implementation of part XI of the convention and thereafter whether to accede to UNCLOS.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made as to which major maritime nations will not sign the UN convention on the law of the sea.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The UN convention on the law of the sea is no longer open for signature. The United Kingdom, United States and Germany did not sign the convention when it was open for signature.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the countries which have signed the new law of the sea convention ; and if he will list them.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Some 155 states and four other entities signed the law of the sea convention when it was open for signature between 1982 and 1984. Some 61 states have now ratified or acceded to the convention. I have placed in the House of Commons Library a list of signatories and one of ratifiers and acceders.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made as to which developed countries are expected to sign the United Nations convention on the law of the sea.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Most developed countries, but not the United Kingdom, United States or Germany, signed the United Nations convention on the law of the sea after it was opened for signature in 1982. No major developed country ratified the convention. Many may now do so following the adoption of the agreement on the implementation of part XI of the convention, which the General Assembly is to consider in July.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the timetable for the adoption of the United Nations convention on the law of the sea by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The United Nations convention on the law of the sea was adopted by the third United Nations conference on the law of the sea in 1982. The agreement on the implementation of part XI of the convention will be considered by the United Nations General Assembly with a view to its adoption in July 1994. The convention itself comes into force on 16 November 1994.


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Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the likely timetable for agreement to be reached on part II of the United Nations convention on the law of the sea ; and if he will list the countries which have raised objections to it, indicting the nature of the objections.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Part II of the United Nations convention on the law of the sea has not been the subject of any negotiation since UNCLOS was concluded in 1982. Many industrialised countries objected to the terms of part XI, concerning deep seabed mining, including the United Kingdom, United States and Germany, which refused to sign the Convention. The United Nations Secretary-General's consultations on part XI, which began in 1990, have recently been concluded. A draft resolution and a draft agreement on the implementation of part XI will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly on 27 to 29 July. I have placed in the House of Commons Library a copy of the draft resolution and agreement.

Embassies and Consulates

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the annual cost of British embassies and consulates in (a) the United States and (b) the world.

Mr. Goodlad : The annual cost of British embassies and consulates in 1992-93, the latest financial year for which final expenditure figures are available, was :

(a) the United States £33 million.

(b) the world £365 million.

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement of the role played by British embassies and consulates in protecting the rights of British citizens when travelling abroad.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The functions which consular officers may perform are set out in article 5 of the Vienna convention on consular relations and the corresponding provisions of the bilateral consular conventions.

The role of consular officers varies according to the circumstances of individual cases. Each year consular staff overseas deal with over 2 million inquiries from British citizens.

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements are made to respond to urgent facsimile or other messages concerning immigration cases that are sent by his staff to British embassies during public holidays.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : All British diplomatic missions overseas designate a duty officer to attend to urgent matters which arise outside normal working hours.

Arms Control Department

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why his Department's arms control and disarmament department has been disbanded.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The arms control and disarmament department has been disbanded as part of a wider redistribution of work on defence, security and non-proliferation issues aimed at providing a more


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coherent and effective response to the international security challenge that we now face, including in the areas of arms control and disarmament. All work formerly done by ACDD has now been reallocated either to the non-proliferation department or to the security policy department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Public Consultation

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in what circumstances it is his Department's practice, when issuing a public consultation document, to inform those consulted that their responses will be made public unless they explicitly ask for them to be kept confidential ; and if he will arrange for his Department to do so in all cases in future.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : It is not FCO practice to issue public consultation documents.

Overseas Crime

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department and British consulates overseas take to ensure that British citizens who are victims of crimes committed in overseas countries are guaranteed access to justice under the legal system pertaining in the country where the crime is committed.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Where British nationals become victims of crime in other countries, consular officers will ensure that they are advised how to report the crime to the local authorities and, if appropriate, assisted to do so. It is for individuals to pursue redress through the local legal system, based, if necessary, on advice given to them by a local lawyer.

Criminal Justice Procedures

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Government receives representations from foreign Governments relating to citizens of those Governments involved in cases before British courts ; and if his Government make representations to foreign Governments relating to British citizens involved in cases before the courts of those Governments.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are not aware of any recent case where a foreign Government have questioned judicial proceedings. Interventions are not made by British officials in cases which are before properly constituted courts in foreign countries.

Chemical Weapons Convention

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ensure that the Government ratify the chemical weapons convention by the time it is scheduled to enter into force.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We are committed to ratifying the chemical weapons convention and will introduce the necessary implementing legislation as soon as parliamentary time permits.


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Cyprus

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when (a) he and (b) one of his Ministers next plans to visit Cyprus (i) to discuss a solution to the problems of the island and (ii) for other purposes.

Mr. Goodlad : There are no plans for a visit to Cyprus by an FCO Minister in the immediate future.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how he plans to support Cyprus's application to join the European Union.

Mr. Goodlad : The United Kingdom has welcomed Cyprus's membership application. There are clearly difficulties in Cyprus joining the European Union while the intercommunal dispute remains unresolved. The Council will review Cyprus's application early in 1995 in the light of developments in the intercommunal process. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom supports the Commission's talks with Cyprus to familiarise it with the EC's existing legislation.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Ministers have visited the Republic of Cyprus since 1979 (a) to discuss a solution to the political problems there and (b) for other purposes ; who those Ministers were ; and which Cypriot Ministers they met.

Mr. Goodlad : Ministerial visits to Cyprus since 1979 are set out in the table :

(a) Ministerial visits to Cyprus to discuss a solution to the political problems there :

April 1980Lord Privy Seal (Rt. Hon. Sir Ian Gilmour) met President Kyprianou and Foreign Minister Rolandis.October 1983(Lady Young), Minister of State, FCO met President Kyprianou, Foreign Minister Iacovou and Defence Minister VeniaminOctober 1993The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary met President Clerides and Foreign Minister Michaelides (b) Ministerial visits to Cyprus for other purposes : December 1992(Mr. Hugh Rossi, MP), Minister of State for Social Security and the Disabled met Mr. Papageorgliou, Minister for Labour and Social Insurance.September 1983(Mrs. Peggy Fenner), Parliamentary Secretary, MAFF, met Mr. Andreou, Minister of Commerce.September 1983(Mr. Richard Luce), Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, met Mr. Veniamin, the Acting Foreign Minister.November 1983(Mr. Channon), United Kingdom Minister for Trade, met Mr. Andreou.July 1984(Mr. Peter Brooke), Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Education and Science, attended Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference.September 1989(Mr. David Mellor), Minister of State, Department of Health, attended Conference of European Ministers responsible for Family Affairs.October 1990(Baroness Hooper), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, attended Conference of European Health Ministers.June 1992(Mr. Michael Jack), Minister of State at the Home Office, attended meeting of European Ministers of Justice.October 1992(Dr. Brian Mawhinney), Minister of State for Health attended Commonwealth Health Ministers Conference.May 1993The Lord Chancellor, (Lord Mackay of Clashfern), attended Commonwealth Law Conference.September 1993(Lady Chalker), Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Minister for Overseas Development, attended Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference.


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Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) when he expects to put in the British submissions to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons ;

(2) what representations he has received and what consultations he has held on the British submissions to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons ;

(3) whether his submissions to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons will be published or placed in the Library.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 28 February, Official Report, column 547.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government have participated in the EU discussions within the framework of working groups on a common European foreign policy in respect of the application by the World Health Organisation to the International Court of Justice on nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : They have.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his submissions to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons will embrace the question of threat to use as well as possession and use.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The request is for an opinion on whether the use of nuclear weapons by a state in war or other armed conflict would be lawful, and that question is addressed by our submission.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government are making to other EU Governments about an EU submission to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons, on concerting individual Government submissions or on a common EU position on the issue.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 28 February, Official Report , column 547 . In drafting our submission, we have had consultations with Government Departments, allies, and some European partners.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will be seeking parliamentary approval for the British Government's submission to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : No. Our submission to the International Court of Justice will be approved by relevant Ministers.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the admissibility of the World Health Organisation submission to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : As we made clear during the debate at the World Health Assembly in 1993, we do not


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consider that the question of the legality of nuclear weapons is within the competence of the World Health Organisation. We have great respect for the valuable work that the World Health Organisation has conducted in the health field. The legality of nuclear weapons, however, is an entirely different matter.

Sudan

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the outcome of Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development talks on Sudan which concluded in Nairobi on 17 May ; and what are the prospects for further peace talks.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : On 17 May the Government of Sudan and Sudan People's Liberation Army factions signed an agreement on the opening of specific air destinations and surface corridors to humanitarian relief supplies. The next round of talks is scheduled for mid-July.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Courts (Wales)

Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will set out for each year since 1990 (a) the total amount of spending incurred in respect of the administration of the courts in Wales and (b) the total number of staff employed by the courts in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The table sets out the total amount of spending incurred since 1990 in respect of the administration of the magistrates courts in Wales, and the Crown county courts on the Wales and Chester circuit which includes areas in Cheshire. Figures for 1993-94 have not yet been finalised.


Year      |£ million          

------------------------------

1990-91   |32.974             

1991-92   |39.896             

1992-93   |46.695             

The table sets out the total number of permanent staff employed in the magistrates courts in Wales and in the Crown and county courts in the Wales and Chester circuit on 31 December of each year.


Year    |Number         

------------------------

1990    |1,270.0        

1991    |1,297.5        

1992    |1,269.5        

1993    |1,277.5        

Solicitors' Firms (Franchises)

Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will publish the number of solicitors' firms which have so far applied to the Legal Aid Board for a franchise.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Some 933 firms of solicitors have applied to the Legal Aid Board for a franchise in one or more franchised categories of work. This represents a total of 1,512 offices which have made such an application.


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EMPLOYMENT

Government Information

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he plans to publish his departmental guidance on the implementation of the code of practice on freedom of information, as promised at paragraph 3(ii) of the code issued on 4 April ; and what has been the cause of delay in publication of the guidance.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Internal guidance notes on the operation of the code of practice in the Employment Department and in the Employment Service have been available for some time ; the Health and Safety Executive's internal guidance will be available shortly ; the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service relies on the central guidance on interpretation of the code of practice. Copies of internal guidance notes are being placed in the Library.

Fire Safety

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what evaluation he has made of the Fire Brigades Union report entitled, "Cutting the Lifeline", on the implications for fire safety of the proposals under consideration by his security task force, a copy of which has been sent to him.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The review team has considered all submissions made to it as part of the inter-departmental review on enforcement of fire safety legislation. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State awaits the review team's report.

Industrial Tribunals

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many chairs of industrial tribunals are currently employed ; and at what total cost per annum.

Miss Widdecombe : Chairmen of industrial tribunals may be either full time--that is, salaried--or part time--paid on a sessional basis. The numbers of chairmen in post at 31 March and the estimated costs for the 12 months up to that date were as follows :


                   |Full-time chairmen|Part-time chairmen                   

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Numbers            |84                |199                                  

Cost               |£4,961,076        |£2,122,531                           

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment from which organisations the lay members of industrial tribunals are selected.

Miss Widdecombe : In accordance with the legislation governing the industrial tribunals, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State appoints the lay members after consultation with a number of bodies representing employers and employees. In the last appointment round the following organisations were consulted :

Employer Bodies :

Association of British Chambers of Commerce

Confederation of British Industry

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

Department of Health (in respect of NHS Management)

Federation of Small Businesses

Institute of Directors


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Local Government Management Board

National Chamber of Trade

British Retail Consortium

Employee Bodies :

Council of Managerial and Professional Staffs

Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunication and Plumbing Union Federation of Managerial, Professional and General Associations Royal College of Midwives

Royal College of Nursing

Trades Union Congress

Union of Democratic Mineworkers

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average length of time for which industrial tribunal hearing rooms are occupied each day.

Miss Widdecombe : The average length of a sitting day for the industrial tribunals, England and Wales, for the 12 months ended 31 March was 3.83 hours. To this must be added around half an hour preparing for the hearing and discussing the decision. These figures take no account of time spent on related interlocutory work and drafting and checking the tribunal's decision. I regret that figures are not available for the industrial tribunals, Scotland.

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of the chairs of industrial tribunals are (a) women and (b) from the ethnic minorities.

Miss Widdecombe : The figures are as follows :


Per cent.                                       

                  |Full-time|Part-time          

------------------------------------------------

Women             |14.3     |6.8                

Ethnic minorities |3.6      |1.6                

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what sums are required from applicants to industrial tribunals by way of a deposit ; and in what circumstances any such deposit will not be returned.

Miss Widdecombe : Applicants, or respondents, may be ordered to pay a deposit of up to £150 as a condition of proceeding with their case where at a pre-hearing review the industrial tribunal considers that they have no reasonable prospect of success. The deposit is only forfeited, in full or in part, if parties lose their case at full hearing and have costs awarded against them. In that case the deposit goes towards payment of the costs.

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average daily, weekly, monthly or annual fee of a chairperson of an industrial tribunal.


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