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Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what discussions he has had in the past year with employers' organisations to encourage their members to give time off for Bench duties. 
Mr. Wills: I have not held any such discussions. However, the issue of gaining support from more employers will be addressed in the national strategy for recruitment, which will be published in the spring.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of magistrates are (a) full-time employed, (b) self employed, (c) part- time workers, (d) retired and (e) unemployed. 
Mr. Wills: 72.3 per cent. of magistrates are recorded as being in paid employment and 27.7 per cent. are recorded as being "not in paid employment". No distinction is made in our records between full-time and part-time or between retired and unemployed.
Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor gave a breakdown of the magistracy in his Judicial Appointments annual report 200001,(Cmd 5248). The report showed that 4 per cent. of magistrates were aged under 40 and 64.6 per cent. were aged between 40 and 60. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Wills: Our records on magistrates' occupations are not broken down into public and private sector. The following table provides a breakdown by occupation category. However, this can only be a rough guide to the proportions working in the public and private sectors because some lecturers and teachers will work in the private sector for instance, as will some health care employees.
|Lecturers and teachers||8.7|
|Local government employees||4.6|
|Farmers and other agricultural workers||1.5|
|Health care professionals||3.8|
|Other health care employees||3.0|
|Employees of national companies||4.7|
|Employees of local companies/organisations||10.0|
|Not in paid employment||27.7|
12 Feb 2002 : Column 154W
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many full-time employed magistrates have been (a) put onto the reserve list and (b) retired from the bench, in each of the last two years because of difficulties in getting time off for bench duties; and what proportion of working magistrates that represented in each year. 
Mr. Wills: In total approximately 18,000 magistrates are in paid employment. In 1999, 182 magistrates resigned citing pressure of work or employment difficulties as the reason. In 2000 the figure was 186 and in 200001 (from which year figures were kept by financial year) the figure was 221. That is about 1 per cent. of all employed magistrates each year.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department whether section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 is ensuring that working magistrates have sufficient time off work to fulfil their bench duties. 
Mr. Wills: My officials are not normally informed of magistrates experiencing difficulties in obtaining sufficient time off to fulfil their bench duties. That is an issue between the employee and the employer, although the Clerk to the Justices or Secretary to the Advisory Committee will encourage the employer to be more supportive if the magistrate is happy for the Clerk to do so. Therefore I am not in a position to state whether section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 is ensuring that working magistrates have sufficient time off work to fulfil their bench duties.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the employers who have discouraged their employees from undertaking Bench duties in the last five years. 
Mr. Wills: If magistrates experience difficulties with their employers discouraging them from undertaking Bench duties, the normal course is for the Clerk to the Justices or the Secretary to the Advisory Committee to contact employers to encourage them to be more supportive by persuading them that it benefits them to have employees who are magistrates because of the skills which magistrates develop in the discharge of their judicial duties. It would be unusual for issues between a magistrate and his or her employer to be reported to my officials and no record is kept of the rare instances they are reported.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the provisions of section 51 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 have been used by a magistrate; and what the outcome was in each case. 
Mr. Wills: If all attempts by the Clerk to the Justices or Secretary to the Advisory Committee to encourage an employer to be more supportive fail, and a magistrate decides to take his or her employer to an employment tribunal, that is a matter between the employee and the employer. My officials are not normally informed of any cases nor the outcome, nor is any record kept of those rare cases when they take place.
12 Feb 2002 : Column 155W
Helen Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many people from Warrington, North constituency were serving as magistrates in Warrington (a) in 1997 and (b) at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Wills: On the latest available information, approximately 57 per cent. of the magistrates currently serving on the Warrington Bench live in the Warrington, North constituency compared to 59 per cent. in 1997.
12 Feb 2002 : Column 156W
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what official foreign visits the Judge Advocate-General has made since his appointment; and what was the purpose of such visits. 
|Date||Place visited||Duration||Purpose of visit|
|July 1996||Canada||5 days||Commonwealth law conference|
|June 1997||Hungary||5 days||Military law conference, and to advise on UK military law|
|August 1997||Washington DC, USA||5 days||To attend international conference on criminal and military law|
|November 1997||West Point and Maxwell Air Force Base, USA||5 days||To give a lecture on UK military law and human rights at both institutions|
|May 1998||Romania||3 days||To address a NATO seminar on military law|
|September 1998||USA||Washington DC, USA||To attend international conference on criminal and military law|
|April 1999||Ankara, Turkey||4 days||To address a military conference on military law and human rights|
|May 1999||Estonia||3 days||To advise on UK military law (with the Provost Marshal)|
|June 1999||Hungary||5 days||Military law conference, and to advise on UK military law|
|September 1999||USA||Washington DC, USA||To attend international conference on criminal and military law|
|February 2000||Charlottesville and Georgetown University DC||5 days||To give a presentation on UK military law and human rights|
|April 2000||The Hague||2 days||Visit to International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia|
|September 2000||Canada (Calgary)||5 days||Interview candidates for judicial officer posts with JAG office|
|October 2000||Gibraltar||3 days||Interview candidates for judicial officer posts with JAG office|
|June 2001||Hungary||5 days||Military law conference and to advise on UK military law|
|September 2001||Copenhagen, Denmark||5 days||To attend international conference on criminal and military law|
The Judge Advocate General also makes regular visits to his permanent office at Rheindahlen, Germany for official office purposes
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many staff in her Department work (a) whole-time and (b) for part of their time on matters related to the Northern Ireland Court Service. 
Full-time staff: 596
Total staff: 693 1
1 Figure excludes the number of staff on career break. Twenty-one staff on career break; total staff including career break staff714.
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