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CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Asylum Appeals

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many asylum appeal cases remitted back to the Immigration Appellate Authority by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal were (a) reconsidered by an adjudicator and (b) withdrawn by (i) the Home Office and (ii) the applicant in the last year for which figures are available; and of those asylum appeal cases remitted and reconsidered by the Immigration Appellate Authority; how many were (A) successful and (B) unsuccessful. [145065]

Mr. Lammy: For the period 1 October 2002 to 30 September 2003 there were 3,339 asylum appeals remitted from the Immigration Appeal Tribunal to the Immigration Appellate Authority Adjudicators of which a total of (a) 2,466 remitted asylum appeals have been promulgated by adjudicators. (b) (i) Appeals before the Immigration Appellate Authority are appeals against a Home Office decision and can only be withdrawn by the Appellant pursuant to Rule 42 of The Immigration and Asylum Appeals (Procedure) Rules 2003. (ii) A total of 55 remitted asylum appeals were withdrawn by the appellant from the 1 October 2002 to 30 September 2003. (A)(B) There have been 2,466 remitted asylum appeals promulgated between 1 October 2003 and 30 September 2003 for which the Immigration Appellate Authority has recorded an outcome of appeal allowed, appeal dismissed or appeal withdrawn. A total of 1,772 remitted asylum appeals were dismissed, with 639 remitted asylum appeals being allowed.

Entry Clearance

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many appeals against the refusal of entry clearance from Pakistan for (a) spouses, (b) fiancés, (c) dependent children and (d) dependent elderly relatives are now awaiting consideration by the Independent Appellate Authority; what the average time taken between the IAA receiving papers and an appeal being heard was in 2003; and if he will make a statement. [145396]

Mr. Lammy: The Immigration Appellate Authority does not differentiate between different categories of immigration and non-asylum appeals and is unable to provide the information without incurring disproportionate costs; For the period from the 1 October 2002 to the 30 September 2003 the average time for an immigration and non-asylum appeal to reach a substantive hearing before an Adjudicator is 14 weeks following the receipt of the appeal papers by the Immigration Appellate Authority.

European Court of Human Rights

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will publish the (a) procedures and (b) timetables being followed by the Government to produce the list of nominees for election by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as United Kingdom Judge on the European Court of Human Rights; and whether the list will include at least one man and one woman. [142453]

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Mr. Rammell [holding answer 18 December 2003]: The procedures adopted by the Government for the nomination of candidates for the position of UK judge at the European Court of Human Rights follow those used previously for this and other international judicial appointments. The timetable is as follows:


In view of the above procedure, it is not possible at this stage to comment on the composition of the list of three candidates to be nominated at the end of January.

Mr. Kevin McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many senior appointments in the administration of the European Court of Human Rights are unfilled; and for how long the vacancies have been unfilled. [142454]

Mr. Rammell [holding answer 18 December 2003]: There is one senior appointment in the administration of the European Court of Human Rights which is unfilled. This vacancy has existed since November 2002. The UK Government hopes this position can be filled in the near future.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps he has taken to resolve the outstanding difficulties relating to the pensions and social security rights of judges of the European Court of Human Rights; and when he expects the matter to be concluded. [142455]

Mr. Rammell [holding answer 18 December 2003]: The UK is currently waiting to see an actuarial review of the proposals made in relation to improving the benefits package for judges at the European Court of Human Rights. Once this has been published the Committee of Ministers will then be in a position to assess the feasibility of the schemes proposed. Publishing of the actuaries' report is expected in early 2004, with a decision on a package to be taken later in the year.

Postal Voting

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs who took the decision to ask the Electoral Commission to determine which regions should be selected for postal voting pilot schemes in the forthcoming European parliamentary elections in 2004. [145550]

Mr. Leslie: The decision to ask the Electoral Commission to recommend which regions would be suitable for piloting and the type of pilots they should hold was a collective decision, taken by the Government.

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SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Fair Trade Products

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General whether it is the policy of her Department to use fair trade products, as a matter of course, in (a) sales on Departmental premises and (b) receptions and meetings involving staff and visitors. [142818]

The Solicitor-General: Neither the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers nor the Serious Fraud Office sells products. It is the policy of both Departments to support the principles of government procurement ensuring that it obtains overall value for money and complies with EU procurement rules. This is the policy applied for all products.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) encourages ethical purchasing as a key element of its procurement policy. The CPS contracted catering facility at its Headquarters in Ludgate Hill, London sells a selection of Fair Trade products which are available to staff and for meetings involving staff and visitors.

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) does not sell products of any sort on its premises. Catering for receptions and meetings involving staff and visitors is provided by local contractors. HMCPSI does not specify how contractors should obtain their supplies. The procurement policy for all goods and services is to use reliable suppliers of suitable products that offer good value for taxpayers' money. When Government policy exists in respect of specific types of goods or services then this is taken into account for contracts of material value.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department has no provision for making sales of any sort on its premises. Fair trade tea and coffee is, however, used where it is served at meetings and receptions involving staff and visitors

Guantanmo Bay

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment she has made of the case for bringing charges of treason against British detainees in Guantanamo Bay upon their return to the United Kingdom. [144840]

The Solicitor-General: Decisions to prosecute are made independently by the Crown Prosecution Service in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. A prosecution will be brought if there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute. If a decision to prosecute is made all relevant charges will be considered in deciding what charge an individual should face.

Timber

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Solicitor-General by what means the Law Officers' Department's policy for purchasing timber and timber products ensures that they are obtained from legal and sustainable sources. [141337]

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The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not purchase timber and timber products directly. Furniture and building refurbishments are the two areas where the CPS may purchase products containing timber.

The CPS purchases furniture from framework contracts available from OGC buying solutions, whose products have been certified as being from legal and sustainable sources. For refurbishment work, the CPS engages its property managing agents to undertake a competitive tender using the National Building Specifications as part of standard specification, which includes the requirement to use certified timber.

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) is a small Department and it does not have a policy relating to procurement of timber or timber products. It does not purchase timber and purchase of timber products is limited to paper and occasional purchases of office furniture. The procurement policy for all goods and services is to use reliable suppliers of suitable products that offer good value for taxpayers' money. When Government policy exists in respect of specific types of goods or services then this is taken into account for contracts of material value.

The SFO when purchasing timber and timber products requires suppliers to provide written verification that the products are from legal and sustainable sources.

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The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and the Treasury Solicitor's Department are not major consumers of timber or timber products but when timber is required, it is the Departments' policy to instruct contractors that it must be obtained lawfully only from sustainable sources, and to verify that this is done.


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