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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies have defended in (i) industrial tribunals and (ii) the courts in each year since 1997; what proportion were concluded in their favour; and what the costs of cases fought were, including damages paid. 
|Court cases opened||1,730||1,768||1,954||2,474||2,436|
|Court cases opened||743||911||1,314||1,173||1,047|
|Tribunal cases opened||22||22||33||35||44|
|Tribunal cases opened||80||83||118||178||134|
1. Figures given for the Home Office include its agencies apart from the Prison Service.
2. The figures are supplied by the Treasury Solicitor's Department, which is responsible for litigation on behalf of the Home Office and its agencies.
3. Court cases include judicial review and personal injury litigation. There is a small amount of commercial litigation not reflected in these figures.
4. These figures do not include the proportion of cases concluded in favour of the department or the amount of damages paid. These items could not be obtained without disproportionate effort.
5. The figures for billable casework include amounts charged by the Treasury Solicitor in respect of both time and disbursements.
11 Jul 2002 : Column 1199W
These figures show the arising amount and cost of litigation over the last five years. Around 2,500 cases were opened in the financial year 19978; over 3,500 have been opened to date in this financial year. The cost has arisen from roughly £7.5 million to £9.7 million. Prison Service litigation represents about a third of the total number of cases; while immigration judicial review covers about 90 per cent. of the judicial review cases which themselves form about two thirds of all the litigation.
While the rise in the number and cost of judicial review and personal injury cases has been about 50 per cent. over the past five years, in the employment field the cases have doubled and the costs have all but trebled. This matter is under active consideration by the Prison Service.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the report of the independent investigation into the circumstances of Paul Wright's death at Leeds Prison on 7 November 1996, ordered by Mr. Justice Jackson on 27 June 2001. 
Hilary Benn: I welcome this report, which is today being placed in the Library together with our response to the five findings and 20 recommendations made in the report. The Prison Service has previously accepted partial liability for the death of Paul Wright because failure to provide proper medical treatment was a contributory factor to his death, and in October 2000 apologised to the family, followed by an out-of-court settlement in December 2000. This independent investigation provides a very thorough review of the circumstances surrounding the death of Paul Wright and associated issues. Two of the findings reflect conflicts of evidence that are unlikely ever to be resolved.
This was a unique investigation in circumstances unlikely to be repeated, largely because of changes made since 1996, including: provision of health care services in prison has been changed through a partnership between the Prison Service and the NHS at local, regional and national level; procedures for recruitment and supervision of prison medical officers have been improved, with training and qualification requirements tightened; and all self-inflicted deaths in prisons are now routinely investigated and investigation reports disclosed to families. In addition, a clinical review of the treatment provided to a prisoner dying in custody from natural causes routinely now takes place. Procedures for investigating all deaths in prison custody are currently under review. In parallel, a wider Home Office and Government review of investigations and inquiries is taking place against a background of emerging jurisprudence from both the domestic and European Courts. This investigation has provided some valuable insights which will help inform this debate, specifically in relation to the introduction of independence in future investigations.
11 Jul 2002 : Column 1200W
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department keeps routine statistics on the numbers of applications for contact and orders made but does not keep information about the party in whose favour an order was made. When considering making a contact order the court has the child's welfare as its paramount consideration. This includes taking into account any harm a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
Ms Shipley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on how contact arrangements will be made safe for children before new measures are introduced; and how she will enforce contact orders. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: When considering applications for contact the court is obliged to make the welfare of the child its paramount concern. This includes considering any harm a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering. The court can attach conditions to contact and make orders for the protection of children and their parents in any family proceedings. In addition to case law and the Guidelines prepared by the Children Act Sub Committee of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Family Law (CASC), the Department is considering possible amendments to court rules to ensure consistency in the treatment of applications for contact where there are allegations of violence. The Department is also facilitating the Child Contact Centre Working Group. The group is prioritising measures to ensure the safety of those using such services. The Government are considering the recommendations of CASC's report 'Making Contact Work' on the facilitation and enforcement of contact and will be making an initial response shortly. Ensuring contact is safe is a key consideration.
Ms Shipley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many contact orders under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 were (a) refused and (b) granted in (i) 1999, (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2001. 
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many contact orders were (a) granted and (b) refused under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 in (i) 1999, (iii) 2000 and (iii) 2001. 
Contact orders include ones made for indirect contact or supervised contact. Although no breakdown is currently available, we will be undertaking a sampling exercise later this year to obtain information on this area.
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Ms Rosie Winterton: When considering applications for contact the court is obliged to make the welfare of the child its paramount concern. This includes determining whether a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering harm and taking steps to protect the child and any other party to proceedings. The court can attach conditions to contact and make orders for the protection of children and their parents in any family proceedings if the court believes this is necessary, regardless of whether or not such
11 Jul 2002 : Column 1202W
conditions or orders have been requested. The Department is considering possible amendments to court rules to ensure consistency in the treatment of applications for contact where there are allegations of violence.
|Title||Month||Length of consultation (weeks)|
|Report of the Review Group on the Royal Peculiars||July 2001||11|
|Administrative CourtProposed Changes To Primary Legislation Following Sir Jeffrey Bowman's Review of the Crown Office List||July 2001||12|
|Towards Effective Enforcementa single piece of bailiff law and a regulatory structure||July 2001||12|
|Payments into Court in Satisfaction of a claim||August 2001||13|
|Report of the Review of Tribunals by Sir Andrew Leggatt||August 2001||15|
|General Preaction Protocol||October 2001||16|
|Damages for Future Loss: Giving the Courts the Power to Order Periodical Payments for Future Loss and Care Costs in Personal Injury Cases||March 2002||12|
|Payments to Witnesses||March 2002||12|
|Freezing Injunctions and Search Orders in Civil Proceedings||March 2002||12|
|Promoting Inter-Agency Working in the Family Justice System||March 2002||14|
|Making Decisions: Helping People Who Have Difficulty Deciding for Themselves||April 2002||13|
|Selection Procedures for the Circuit Bench and Recordership||April 2002||(36)13|
(36) Subject to request for extension until 22 July 2002
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