Mr. Walden : To ask the Lord President of the Council, pursuant to his answer of 29 June, Official Report, column 628, if he will make an assessment of the suitability to current conditions of the Ten o'clock rule.
Mr. Newton : Although I am having discussions with the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown) about the sittings of the House, I do not envisage putting forward proposals to change Ten o'clock as the normal end to the main parliamentary day. Nor was such a change envisaged in the report of the Select Committee on Sittings of the House, though it was an aim of that report's proposals that Members should more frequently be able to leave for their constituencies after about seven o'clock on Thursdays.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, pursuant to his answer of 31 March, Official Report, column 976, if he will list the items of work which English Heritage indicated needed to be carried out within six months of its report on Longford hall, Stretford, to maintain the building in its then existing condition ; which works were carried out ; and which were not.
Mr. Brooke : Works carried out to Longford hall by Trafford metropolitan borough council in December 1993 to January 1994 comprised structural repairs to the Derby room and the south-east corner of the building, repairs to the roof, gutters and drainpipes, rot treatment of walls and floors within the basement to the rear of the original building and the ground floor above and the insertion of ventilation grilles and the removal of debris. Security works were also carried out last year. These were the only works of those in English Heritage's report dated 9 June 1993 which related to the original building and which were also necessary to preserve that part of the building pending a decision by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment on its future.
The Prime Minister : I have had no such discussions. However, as I stated on 7 July 1994, Official Report, column 446, in response to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood), my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has discussed with the chief executive of the Coastguard Agency the proposals he put forward in response to my right hon. Friend's target, that the Department as a whole should achieve a 20 per cent. efficiency gain. My right hon. Friend has not yet taken any decisions on these proposals.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Prime Minister which organisations, agencies and other bodies relating to his departmental area of responsibility have been privatised since 1990 ; and what plans he has for further privatisation.
The Prime Minister : None of the organisations, agencies or other bodies under my departmental responsibility have been privatised since 1990. Plans for privatisation involving my departments will be considered on their merits as part of a prior options exercise and the results will be announced as appropriate.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the answer of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of 20 June, Official Report, column 11, if he will make a statement on discussions at the G7 summit in relation to nuclear technical assistance to the Government of the Ukraine.
Column 483quangos and other organisations to which the Government nominates ; and if he will state the organisation to which the former hon. Members were nominated, the duties undertaken and the salary.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Prime Minister how many overseas visits have been made in 1994 by Ministers ; during how many of them Ministers participated in fund-raising activities for the Conservative party ; who were those Ministers ; and in which countries those activities took place.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 4 July 1994] : As far as I am aware, Ministers made 287 overseas visits in their official capacity between 1 January and 30 June 1994. None of those was undertaken for purposes of fundraising for the Conservative party. No central record is kept of any occasions on which Ministers may have attended fundraising events which were incidental to their visit.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what specific measures he is taking to improve the forecasting of numbers and particular expertise needed at different levels of the judiciary.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Circuits will be required to identify the number of vacancies which are expected to arise a year in advance of the financial year in which they will occur. Based on changes in work load, retirements and other factors they will be expected to identify the number
Column 484and location of the likely vacancies. This will enable vacancies to be advertised well in advance and appropriate individuals to be identified to fill them quickly as and when they arise.
The Department is also developing an information system to determine the future number of High Court judges needed at any one time, having regard to the need to maintain the High Court bench as a compact collegiate body.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the total number of judges serving at 31 March as (a) High Court judges, (b) circuit judges, (c) district judges, (d) masters and registrars of the Supreme Court and district judges of the principal registry of the family division, (e) metropolitan stipendiary magistrates, (f) provincial stipendiary magistrates, (g) recorder and (h) assistant recorders ; and how many in each are (i) part-time appointments, (ii) women, (iii) black and (iv) Asian.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The number of office holders as at 31 March 1994 is set out in the table. All the posts listed are full time except recorders and assistant recorders. The figures for black or Asian office- holders are believed to be correct, but arrangements for the formal recording of the ethnic origin of applicants for judicial office only began on 1 October 1991, so such information may be incomplete. In any event, the figures do not include those of other ethnic minority origin.
|Total|Women|Black|Asian ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- High Court Judges |95 |6 |- |- Circuit Judges (includes Official Referees) |510 |29 |- |3 District Judges (excludes District Judges of the Principal Registry of the Family Division) |290 |25 |- |1 Masters and Registrars of the Supreme Court and District Judges of the Principal Registry of the Family Division |49 |6 |- |- Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrates |46 |6 |- |- Provincial Stipendiary Magistrates |34 |2 |- |1 Recorders |866 |38 |4 |5 Assistant Recorders (excludes Assistant Recorders in Training) |385 |58 |6 |2
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of (a) High Court judges, (b) circuit judges and (c) district judges in office on 31 March had served in the present posts at this level (i) for less than a year, (ii) for less than five years, (iii) for more than 10 years and (iv) for 20 years or more.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The information relating to 31 March is not readily available. However, the percentages for the different periods of service, together with, in brackets, the relevant number of judges, as at 6 July 1994 is set out in the table below. Column B includes the figures in column A. Similarly, column C includes the figures in column D. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole figure.
A B C D Less than 1 Year Less than 5 Years More than 10 More than 20 Years Years |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. |Per cent. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- High Court Judges |15 |(14) |52 |(49) |15 |(14) |1 |(1) Circuit Judges |9 |(46) |43 |(220) |26 |(132) |4 |(21) District Judges (including District Judges of Principal Registry of the Family Division) |12 |(37) |44 |(139) |34 |(107) |6 |(20)
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what consideration he is giving to the suggestion of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice that judicial performance should be more closely monitored.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The Royal Commission's recommendations numbered 249 and 251 remain under active consideration by the Lord Chancellor in consultation with the senior judiciary and the chairman of the Judicial Studies Board. The recommendations have to be set in the context of the essential constitutional principle of the independence of the judiciary from the Executive and from each other. Any measures taken must have full regard to this overriding principle. The Government will respond to these two recommendations when their consideration of these difficult issues is complete.
Mr. John M. Taylor : District judges are expected to sit 215 or more days per year. Circuit judges are expected to sit 210 or more days per year. High Court judges and judges of the Court of Appeal usually sit throughout the legal terms, 189 days, but may well sit outside those times. There is no expected number of working days for the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what parallel category of civil servants is used by the Top Salaries Review Body as a relevant basis for considering salary scales for the judiciary.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Under the revised terms of reference which were introduced in July 1993 at its request, the Senior Salaries Review Body is required, when making recommendations, to have regard to the need to maintain broad linkages between the remuneration of the three main remit groups, while allowing sufficient flexibility to take account of the circumstance of each group.
The two linkages which presently exist between the judiciary and the senior civil service are between High Court judges and civil servants at grade 1 level, and between the Cabinet Secretary and the Lord Chief Justice.
In its 1994 report, the SSRB recommended that the practice of offering identical salaries across the remit groups should be discontinued in future years provided that, in accordance with its terms of reference, the review body ensures that a broad linkage is maintained. The Government have accepted that recommendation.
(2) how many members of the judiciary have been dismissed (a) since June 1979 and (b) since May 1965 as of 31 March ;
Column 486(3) what are the current disciplinary procedures for members of the judiciary.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The independence of the judiciary is a fundamental principle of the constitution and is protected by the provisions governing judicial tenure. Lords of Appeal in Ordinary and Supreme Court judges may be removed by Her Majesty only on an address presented by both Houses of Parliament. Circuit judges may be removed by the Lord Chancellor on the grounds of incapacity or misbehaviour. The statutory provisions governing the removal from office of other members of the judiciary vary, but in general relate similarly to incapacity or misbehaviour, or the equivalent. One circuit judge was removed from office on the ground of misbehaviour in 1983. No other instance of removal from full-time judicial office since 1965 is known.
Given the independence of the judiciary, it is not generally open to the Lord Chancellor to comment on, or intervene in, decisions or comments made, or the conduct of legal proceedings, by a judge in the exercise of his judicial functions. The appropriate recourse in relation to such matters lies in the available processes of appeal or review. Subject to this overriding principle, where a question about the conduct of a judicial office holder is raised with the Lord Chancellor, he may see fit to seek the comments of the office holder concerned before considering what, if any, course of action he should take within the powers available to him.
(2) what was the total number of judges serving in all categories employed (a) full-time and (b) part-time as of 31 March.
|Number ---------------------------------------------------------------- Lords of Appeal in Ordinary |10 Heads of Division (excluding Lord Chancellor) |4 Lords Justices of Appeal |29 High Court Judges |95 Circuit Judges |510 District Judges (including District Judges of the Principal Registry of the Family Division) |308 Total |956
At 31 March 1994, some 185 practitioners had been authorised to sit as deputy High Court judges, 43 retired judges had been appointed to sit as deputy circuit judges and 745 practitioners and retired district judges were authorised to sit as deputy district judges. Some 866 practitioners were authorised to sit as recorders and 385 as assistant recorders. In addition, certain retired Supreme Court judges and Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are also willing to sit from time to time. There are other part- time judicial office-holders.
Column 487background of the judiciary is not readily available. The Lord Chancellor's policy is to appoint to judicial office, entirely on merit, those who satisfy the relevant statutory conditions for appointments and are considered best qualified to fill the posts.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The table sets out the numbers of judges in office on 6 July 1994 who would have served in full-time judicial office in the United Kingdom for fewer than 20 years if they were to retire on their 70th birthday and, in the case of those already over 70, the numbers who had completed fewer than 20 years service by that date. The figures take into account previous service in other full-time judicial offices in this country, except in the case of serving circuit judges where information relating to earlier service is not readily available. The total numbers of judges in post on 6 July 1994 are shown in brackets.
|Number ------------------------------------------------ Lords of Appeal in Ordinary |3 (10) Supreme Court Judges |87 (128) Circuit Judges |254 (510) District Judges<1> |56 (313) <1> Including District Judges of Principal Registry of the Family Division).
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what specific measures he is taking to increase the number of judges moving from the High Court family division to the Court of Appeal.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Appointments to the Court of Appeal are made by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Before making his recommendations, the Prime Minister receives advice from the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor's advice on appointments to the Court of Appeal is based on the operational needs of the Court of Appeal and the suitability of the available candidates. He does not envisage special measures to increase the number of judges promoted to the Court of Appeal from the family division of the High Court.
Mr. John M. Taylor : None. The role of the judiciary is to administer justice in accordance with the laws of England and Wales without fear or favour, affection or ill will. In order to do so, judges must be independent. Security of tenure for the judiciary as established by the Act of Settlement and subsequent statutory provisions is essential in maintaining and supporting the principle of judicial independence.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) if he will list the publications which will carry judicial advertisements ; and on what basis those national publications will be chosen ;
(2) when he expects to report on the results of his consultation on the judicial appointments system ;
Column 488(3) in implementing the proposals in his consultation paper, in what circumstances he will disregard an interview panel's recommendations in favour of alternative information ;
(4) if he will continue to take soundings regarding judicial appointments ; and if these will be used to determine the short listing of applicants for posts.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to him on 4 July, Official Report, column 1. The consultation paper "Developments in Judicial Appointments Procedures" proposes that the interview panel's recommendations will constitute only one element of the information which the Lord Chancellor will have at his disposal, but that it will be a valuable and important one to which he will attach appropriate weight. The consultation paper also emphasises the Lord Chancellor's commitment to the continuation of the systematic collection of views and opinions about candidates and their work from a wide spread of judges and senior practitioners who are in a position to assess them. No decision has yet been taken in respect of the publications in which any advertisements might appear.
The Lord Chancellor is now considering the responses received to the consultation paper and will make an announcement as soon as practicable.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) High Court judges, (b) circuit judges and (c) district judges in office on 31 March received university education at Oxford or Cambridge.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Aggregated information relating to the university background of judges is not readily available, but the results of a special exercise carried out last year showed that at 1st January 1993, 68--81 per cent.--of the then 84 High Court judges had attended Oxford or Cambridge universities. The special exercise showed that the equivalent figure for the then 482 circuit judges was 261--54 per cent. The survey did not extend to district judges.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The requirement that judges should serve 20 years to qualify for full pension benefits is contained in the new pensions scheme under the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. This is to allow the judicial pension scheme to conform to the taxation requirements which now apply to all other private and public sector pension schemes as a result of the Finance Acts 1987 and 1989 and the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.
Mr. John M. Taylor : There have been 47 such retirements since June 1979, of which four have taken place since April 1992. These figures refer to Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, judges of the Supreme Court, circuit judges and district judges.
|£ ------------------------------------------------- Lord Chancellor |120,179 Lord Chief Justice |118,179 Lords of Appeal |- Master of the Rolls |109,435 Lords Justices of Appeal |- President of the Family Division |- Vice-Chancellor |104,922 High Court Judges |95,051 Official Referees |- Senior Circuit Judges |82,641 Circuit Judges |- Senior District Judge |69,497 District Judges |56,974
Mr. John. M. Taylor : The numbers of barristers who have declined to allow their names to be recommended to Her Majesty the Queen for immediate appointment to the High Court bench in England and Wales in recent years are set out below. All those who declined, with one exception, have made it clear that they hope to be considered again for appointment to the High Court bench in the future. Numbers before 1988 are not readily available.
|Number ------------------------- 1988-89 |- 1989-90 |- 1990-91 |- 1991-92 |1 1992-93 |6 1993-94 |2 <1>1994-95 |- <1> To date.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what legislative action would be necessary for the changes he announced on 7 July 1993 to the judicial appointment system to take effect.
Mr. John M. Taylor : None. It remains the Government's view that the establishment of such a commission would impair direct ministerial accountability to Parliament for judicial appointments. Moreover, the Government have yet to hear any convincing argument that the quality of those appointed by a Commission would be likely to be any better than that of those appointed under present arrangements.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many of each category of judge in office on 31 March were (a) under 50, (b) 50 to 60, (c) 60 to 70 and (d) over 70 years of age.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The information relating to 31 March is not readily available. The information as at 6 July 1994 is set out in the table below. The age bands have been adjusted in the table to prevent double counting.
? |Under |50-59 |60-70 |71 and |50 |over --------------------------------------------------------------- Lords of Appeal in Ordinary |0 |0 |8 |2 Supreme Court Judges |8 |55 |63 |2 Circuit Judges |66 |233 |201 |10 District Judges (including District Judges of the Principal Registry of the Family Division) |118 |123 |72 |0
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) High Court judges, (b) circuit judges and (c) district judges in office at 31 March were appointed (i) as a result of promotion within the judiciary, (ii) as practising barristers, (iii) as practising solicitors and (iv) after serving on the High Court family division.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Thirteen of the 95 High Court judges in office on 31 March 1994 were appointed as a result of promotion within the full- time judiciary. One was previously an Advocate-General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The remaining 81 were appointed from the Bar, including two barristers who were not in private practice. One Chancery division judge and five Queen's bench division judges had previously served as judges in the family division of the High Court.
The complete information relating to circuit judges is not readily available. Of the 510 circuit judges in office on 31 March 1994, 450 had been barristers and 60 had been solicitors : these figures include those who were appointed to the circuit bench from other full-time judicial offices.
No district judges in office on 31 March 1994 were appointed as a result of promotion within the full-time judiciary. Of the 308 district judges then in office, including district judges of the principal registry of the family division, 296 were appointed from solicitors, including academic and employed solicitors, and 12 from the practising Bar.
Mr. Gunnell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations he has received following his proposals that judges will have to serve 20 years to qualify for a pension.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The requirement that judges should serve 20 years to qualify for full pension benefits is introduced by the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993. Responses to the proposals in the consultation paper issued before the passing of the 1993 Act were received from the following groups or individuals, in order of receipt :
The President of the Pension Appeal Tribunal
The Judge Advocate General
The President of Social Security Appeal Tribunals and Medical Appeal Tribunals
The Council of Her Majesty's Circuit Judges
Sir Bryan Roberts KCMG
The Senior Master, Queen's Bench Division
The Chief Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate
The President of Industrial Tribunals
The Senior District Judge, Family Division
His Honour Judge Micklem
The Association of District Judges