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15 Dec 2003 : Column 728Wcontinued
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs what plans he has to ensure consistency in decision making at adjudicator level if the Immigration Appeals Tribunal is abolished. 
Mr Lammy: The majority of appeals within the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) will be heard and decided by single immigration judges. In reaching decisions judges must follow case law set by a panel of senior immigration judges and practice directions from the President.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) if he will set out the hierarchy within the proposed new asylum and immigration appeals system; 
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(3) what the criteria for selecting senior immigration judges will be; and in what respect their role will differ from that of immigration judges; 
(4) if he will make a statement on the role of senior immigration judges. 
Mr. Lammy: The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal will be headed by a President supported by one or more Deputy Presidents. The precise hierarchical structure of the Tribunal, including the selection criteria for senior immigration judges, is the subject of continuing discussions with the judiciary. The intention is to make the best use of the existing judicial complement who will transfer automatically to the new Tribunal. In broad terms, there will be a core body of senior immigration judges to support the work of immigration judges either by way of establishing case law, dealing with applications for review of Tribunal decisions or acting in supervisory positions.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs whether his proposals for a new asylum and immigration appeals system will provide for (a) a review of and (b) an appeal from decisions that can be shown to be incorrect because of an administrative error by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal; and whether his proposals will provide an opportunity to challenge decisions if the conduct of the Immigration and Appeals Tribunal judge is questioned 
Mr. Lammy: The Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claims, etc.) Bill will make provision for the tribunal to review its decision only if there has been a clear legal error which goes to the heart of the decision. A review will be conducted by reference to written submissions only.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many (a) part-time and (b) full-time immigration adjudicators were in post on 1st October in each of the last four years. 
|1 October 2000||143||15|
|1 October 2001||264||46|
|1 October 2002||394||80|
|1 October 2003||399||156|
These figures do not include the following posts: 1 Chief Adjudicator, 1 Deputy Chief Adjudicator, 9 Regional Adjudicators and 7 Deputy Regional Adjudicators. In addition, a salaried Adjudicator with responsibility for training matters is in the process of being appointed.
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|Change of name deeds enrolled|
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs whether the term judicial oversight in the context of the designated senior judge means (a) active oversight of substantive decisions and (b) purely administrative oversight 
Mr. Lammy : The designated senior judge will have a managerial and an advice and mentoring role. The substantive decision will continue to be the responsibility of the judge conducting the tribunal hearing.
Norman Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much his Department or its predecessors has spent on the acquisition of works of art in each year since 1997, broken down by amounts spent on (a) paintings and (b) sculpture; what the single most expensive piece of art purchased by his Department since 1997 has been; how much it cost; and what the total revenue raised by his Department through sales of works of art has been since 1997. 
Mr. Heald: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what visits (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department (i) have made and (ii) plan to make using public funds in connection with the Big Conversation; how many civil servants accompanied each Minister in respect of such visits; what the cost to public funds was of visits by (A) each Minister and (B) civil servants in connection with the Big Conversation; and if he will make a statement. 
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(c) £75,001, (d) £100,001, (e) £150,001, (f) £200,001, (g) £250,001 and (h) £500,001 in Torbay in each of the last six years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Lammy: The figures for each completed calendar year are as follows. Land Registry collects residential property price data by specified price bands and it is not possible to provide figures for sales specifically within the bands £75,001 and £250,001. Alternative ranges have therefore been provided.
|More than £20,001||1,559||1,292||1,219||852||563||345|
|More than £50,001||1,388||1,519||1,759||1,759||1,541||1,022|
|More than £80,001||346||374||554||664||897||1,003|
|More than £100,001||261||284||485||647||934||1,393|
|More than £150,001||82||100||158||200||337||621|
|More than £200,001||39||62||77||112||149||313|
|More than £300,001||6||11||10||27||52||92|
|More than £500,001||12||0||5||7||6||6|
Mr. Rammell: We remain concerned over consistent reports of human rights abuses in Chechnya, especially reports of rising numbers of "disappearances". We regularly raise our concerns on human rights in Chechnya with the Russian authorities. We most recently did so following the Chechen Presidential elections, when I called for human rights to be upheld in Chechnya.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what visits (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department (i) have made and (ii) plan to make using public funds in connection with the Big Conversation; how many civil servants accompanied each Minister in respect of such visits; what the cost to public funds was of visits by (A) each Minister and (B) civil servants in connection with the Big Conversation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the treatment of members of political parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with particular reference to the UDPS. 
Mr. Mullin: Political parties, including the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) now enjoy a considerable degree of freedom of speech and of activity. New laws for registration and financing of political parties are on
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the agenda of the National Assembly of the DRC. Some political parties, newly formed from rebel movements in the east, do not want to register under the former Government's legislation until these laws are passed. With our support, the independent Electoral Commission and the High Media Authority (both civil society institutions) are monitoring closely.
Mr. Mullin: The UN Special Rapporteuse on Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reported to the Security Council in October 2003 on the current situation. We remain concerned about the high level of human rights violations across the country which she reported, particularly in the east.
Many violations committed during the war are also coming to light now that the fighting has reduced and the civilian population has more access to information, to the UN force (MONUC) and to NGOs. The new civil society institutions, particularly the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Human Rights Observatoire, will need to work with the Transitional National Government to deal with past and current abuses. The international community, including the UK, is offering political, financial and technical support to these Commissions.
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