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3 Jun 2003 : Column 305W—continued

Child Contact Centres

Julie Morgan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what funds are available for child contact centres in Wales in 2003–04. [116353]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not available centrally. Child Contact Centres in Wales will however benefit from training and quality assurance programmes that are being developed as part of a £2.5 million grant secured from the Children's Fund for 2003–04.

Civil Law Cases (Funding)

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if the Lord Chancellor will make it his policy to ring-fence a proportion of the legal aid budget for civil law cases. [114621]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The priorities for legal aid expenditure are cases where the rights of citizens may be at risk, and cases involving social exclusion. Within these broad priorities, we have to judge which cases have the highest priority. The Lord Chancellor directs each year how much of the legal aid budget can be spent on the Community Legal Service. But ring-fencing this budget could, in certain circumstances, result in funds ceasing to be available within the overall legal aid budget for those cases which have the highest priority, for example, those where there is a risk of imprisonment. It would, therefore, be neither desirable nor possible (because of obligations under the Human Rights Act) to ring-fence one part of the legal aid budget.

Departmental Report

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the cost was of the publication of the 2001 Departmental Report. [112819]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb) on 22 January 2003, Official Report, 22 January 2003, column 377W.

Efficiency Savings

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the target is for

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efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114114]

Ms Rosie Winterton: My Department's efficiency target for 2003–04 is part of our Public Service Agreement value for money target, which is a combined requirement to contribute:

Family Law

Tony Wright: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment she has made of the effect of current fee levels on the quality of publicly-funded family law work. [115682]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Solicitor firms or not-for-profit organisations which undertake publicly-funded family work must meet the Legal Services Commission's quality standard in order to undertake work. We have no evidence that those quality requirements are not currently met.

There is no quality standard for barristers undertaking family work. Barristers are remunerated for work in family proceedings under the Family Graduated Fees scheme, which is currently under review. Although there is some evidence some senior counsel are not available to undertake the work at current remuneration levels, I am not aware of any case or cases where suitable representation has not been provided.


Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many contracts the Department has awarded to KPMG since 1997. [113688]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Prior to 1 July 1998, details of individual contracts were not maintained centrally and could be obtained now only at disproportionate cost.

My Department awarded contracts to KPMG in the financial years as detailed in the table.

2003 to date1

Local Authority Funding

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what specific or direct grants have been made by her Department to local authorities for 2003–04 (a) in England and (b) broken down by local authority, identifying whether the grant

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is (i) ring fenced, (ii) a specific formula grant, (iii) within aggregate external finance and (iv) outside aggregate external finance. [114916]

Yvette Cooper: My Department provides separate grants for revenue and capital (buildings and IT) to local authorities to meet 80 per cent. of Magistrates' courts costs. The remainder is met by the local authorities.

Revenue grant is ringfenced within aggregate external finance. The capital grants are ringfenced but outside aggregate external finance.

The total 2003–04 grants (at the 80 per cent. level) to be made available for Magistrates' courts in England are:

£ million
Total grant330.5

(48) Being at 80 per cent. this excludes Supplementary Credit Approval

A breakdown of total payments to be made during 2003–04 cannot be provided as grants may be subject to change, and are paid on a quarterly basis throughout the year. Magistrates' courts are organised into 42 Committees and a lead paying authority acts on behalf of the various authorities covered by each Committee. Grant payments are made to this lead authority as detailed in the following table.

This shows current total 2003–04 revenue grant allocation figures. A precise breakdown of capital figures is not yet available because the process of allocating them is underway.


Lead AuthorityRevenue paid to dateBuildings paid to date
East Sussex1,799,000132,307
Hereford and Worcester1,700,2519,200
North Yorkshire948,350126,228
Newcastle Upon Tyne2,267,36289,120


All figures are in 80 per cent. grant terms

No IT capital grant payments have yet been made this year

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Ms Janet Hughes

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) if she will place in the Library a copy of the court order which authorised the writ of fieri facias sealed on 5 November 2002 in respect of Ms Janet Hughes and costs claimed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and if she will make a statement; [107740]

Yvette Cooper: I have today placed in the House Library copies of the transcript of the judgment of Mr. Justice Stanley Burnton given on 21 August 2001, the court clerk's order dated 21 August 2001 and the costs assessment order of Mr. Justice Stanley Burnton made on 9 October 2001.

At a hearing on 21 August 2001, the Judge indicated that he proposed to make an order for costs in favour of the defendants. The first defendant Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was ordered to serve a Schedule of Costs on 22 August 2001 and it was directed that there would be either oral hearing or consideration on written submissions to be confirmed by the parties.

On 9 October 2001, the hon. Mr. Justice Stanley Burnton, following consideration of the written representations lodged in August 2001 by the parties, assessed the costs for DEFRA and the National Assembly for Wales. On 5 November 2002, the Administrative Court Office sealed a Writ of Fieri Facias (a means by which a judgment creditor may enforce a judgment or order for the payment of money) on the application of DEFRA.

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The Administrative Court Office may exercise the jurisdiction, to issue a Writ of Fieri Facias in cases within its jurisdiction on application by a party to the case for enforcement of costs awarded by a Judge of the Administrative Court.

The Administrative Court Office has informed Ms Hughes that if she is not content with the transcript and supporting orders in their present form, an amended order of 21 August would be issued by the Administrative Court Office confirming the order for costs in favour of the defendants.

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