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The Advocate-General: My role and functions include a legal advisory role as Law Officer and statutory functions under the Scotland Act 1998. I cannot alter these responsibilities but regularly review how I carry them out, and have no current proposals for change. My office was created by Parliament less than three years ago and I have had to establish and develop it, determining what is required to be done and how to do it. In my advisory role, I have worked closely with the other UK Law Officers to ensure the Government get high quality legal advice, essential to their work. I have developed my role under the Scotland Act, in close co-operation with UK Departments, to seek to ensure that the Government have early warning of issues of competence of Bills of the Scottish Parliament or actings of the Scottish Executive, and can engage in constructive dialogue with the Scottish Executive to address them. Establishing and developing a new office of State is an exciting challenge. The creation of my office has also resulted in a Law Officer with Scottish responsibilities being available in the House of Commons for the first time since 1987.
The Advocate-General: I give Law officers' advice frequently and it is a major part of my work. I am precluded from providing further information because it is a long standing convention, adhered to by successive Governments and enshrined in the Ministerial Code, that neither the fact that the Law Officers have advised on a matter, nor the content of any advice which they may have given, is disclosed outside Government other than in exceptional circumstances. This is to protect the confidentiality of the legal advice given to the Government. I have explained this convention to Parliament on a number of occasions. In addition, my officials in the Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate-General frequently advise Government Departments on Scots Law.
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The Advocate-General: Since devolution in July 1999 my officials and I have examined 30 Bills in conjunction with relevant Government Departments at various stages during their progress through the Scottish Parliament in order to ensure that any problem of legislative competence is identified and resolved if possible, in order to try to avoid the need to refer a Bill to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Bill may be outwith legal competence in a variety of ways, for example, if it relates to reserved matters, or relates to enactments protected from modification by the Scottish Parliament, or is incompatible with any of the rights of the European Convention on Human Rights or with European Community law. Thus far I am pleased to advise that any problems have been resolved, following legal advice when necessary, and after co-operation and dialogue. As a result I have not referred any Bill so far to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The existence of the power of referral and the work which is done in connection with that power is an essential part of the devolution settlement.
The Advocate-General: The office of the Advocate- General for Scotland was established on 20 May 1999 and since 1 July 1999 forms part of the Scotland Office with the office of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Not all the costs of the Scotland Office can be separately allocated to each of these two Offices.
Between 20 May and 1 July 1999, the costs of the office of the Advocate-General were paid by the former Scottish Office. From 1 July 1999 to 31 March 2000 the identifiable costs of staff and related administration was £883,326; and in 200001 it was £1,265,215. Approximately half of the costs of the office relates to work on litigation and advisory work including the preparation of Bills carried out by lawyers from the Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate-General on behalf of Government Departments other than the Advocate- General.
The Advocate-General: I have not defended any actions under the Scotland Act 1998 as none have been raised against me under that Act. I have intervened in 21 court proceedings raised by other parties under the Scotland Act. Over 1,300 devolution issue cases have been intimated to me since May 1999 and my officials and I consider these in conjunction with interested Government Departments. As I have explained to Parliament on a number of occasions I intervene, as a UK
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Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Advocate-General on how many occasions she has been requested by the (a) Attorney-General and (b) Solicitor-General to give advice on a matter of law since the creation of her Office; and if she will list them. 
The Advocate-General: Requests for the Law Officers' advice come from Government Departments and not from the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General for England and Wales. The usual practice is that for requests for advice concerning matters of common interest to the whole United Kingdom, such as the application of European law or human rights issues, I advise jointly with the other United Kingdom Law Officers. Such advice is given frequently. The convention concerning the confidentiality of the Law Officers' advice applies and precludes me from providing details.
The Advocate-General: The Legal Secretariat does not provide legal services to Government Departments but assists me in my ministerial duties, such as preparing Law Officers' advice and Cabinet Committee work. The Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate-General provides legal services to most Government Departments. Clients include the Cabinet Office and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, the Department for International Development, the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Office of Fair Trading, and the Scotland Office itself.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Advocate-General if she will list the matters in which the Legal Secretariat participated in discussions between the UK Government and the Scottish Executive since the general election. 
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The Advocate-General: Members of the Legal Secretariat frequently participate in co-ordination meetings of officials involving representatives of the devolved Administrations as well as Government Departments. Such meetings most commonly concern the application of European Law, human rights and the devolution settlement to various subjects.
The Advocate-General: Since June 2001 I have personally appeared in court in two cases. The first was Karl Anderson, Alexander Reid and Brian Doherty v. The Scottish Ministers and the Advocate-General for Scotland, which was a human rights challenge to the first Act passed by the Scottish Parliament, the Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 1999. This case was heard over four days in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in July 2001 and followed my appearance personally in the case in the Inner House, heard over several days in May 2000.
The second case was Kenneth Anthony Paton Mills and John Cochrane v. Her Majesty's Advocate and the Advocate-General for Scotland which was heard in the Appeal Court, High Court of Justiciary in August 2001. My interest in this case was to determine questions concerning the interrelationship of the Scotland Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998.
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