|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans he has to review the indemnity principle in relation to costs in personal injury cases; and if he will make a statement. [186492R]
Mr. Leslie: We considered further the indemnity principle as part of our recent review of the conditional fee agreement (CFA) regime Our conclusions on this, the reform of conditional fee agreements and other important costs matters are set out in "Making simple CFAs a reality" which was published on 29 June 2004, copies of which were placed in the Libraries of both Houses. .
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans he has to review the quantum of general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in personal injury claims in line with the Law Commission's recommendations; and if he will make a statement. [186493R]
Mr. Leslie: In response to a question from the hon. Member in November 1999, the Government indicated that this issue was a matter for the discretion of the court, and that the Government had no plans to legislate. That remains the position.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans he has to review the discount rate for damages in personal injury cases; and if he will make a statement. [186495R]
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many contracts the Department has had with (a) Barclays, (b) the Royal Bank of Scotland, (c) UBS Warburg and (d) the Bank of Scotland for advice on private finance initiative and public-private partnership contracts in each financial year since 200102; and what fees were paid in each case. 
Mr. Leslie: My Department has had no contracts for advice with Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS Warburg or Bank of Scotland on private finance initiative and public-private partnership contracts since 200102.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many people were registered for a permanent postal vote in the Bury St. Edmunds constituency in each year since 1997. 
Individual Electoral Registration Officers keep records of the number of postal voters in their registration area, but they are not required to keep separate records of long term postal voters and those for
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1057W
one election only. It is possible to apply for a postal vote at any time, and figures are not maintained on a yearly basis. However, the following information is available for the 1997 and 2001 general elections.
|Bury St. Edmunds||Total number of postal voters|
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what provisions are in place to increase awareness amongst the judiciary of the behaviour patterns of people who have communication-related disabilities, including autism and Aspergers' Syndrome, in relation to sentencing for communication-related offences, with particular reference to (a) section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 and (b) the offence of being drunk and disorderly. 
Mr. Leslie: The particular offences in question can only be heard within the magistrates court and usually before lay justices, although District Judges (magistrates court) and Deputy District Judges (magistrates court) also have jurisdiction to deal with them. The Government are committed to the equal and fair treatment of all those who find themselves having to answer criminal charges in court. In particular, part of the judicial oath states that magistrates will "do right to all manner of people".
The JSB Equal Treatment Advisory Committee (ETAC) has provided a Bench Book to all professional judiciary and magistrates courts, and this can also be viewed at www.jsboard.co.uk. The Bench Book includes general advice on dealing with mental disability including autism. The JSB will shortly distribute a booklet entitled "Fairness In Courts and Tribunals" to all magistrates. This booklet is a summary of the newly revised (JSB) ETAC Bench Book. If communication difficulties arise during the charging procedure, and autism or Aspergers' Syndrome is suspected or known, the police will notify the courts in advance of the case being heard. The use of interpreters and/or adult support at Court would then be encouraged.
All magistrates have been issued with an Adult Court Bench Book, published by the Judicial Studies Board. This Bench Book includes a structured decision-making guide for use when making sentencing decisions on both these particular offences and also includes a copy of the newly revised magistrates court sentencing guidelines. The guidelines indicate that the health (physical or mental) of offenders should be considered in mitigation.
The "Magistrate" magazine, which is produced by the Magistrates Association, published an article in the January 2004 edition entitled "Coping with sufferers of autism". This publication is widely read among the magistracy.
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1058W
Mr. Love: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many motorists fined for speeding as a result of evidence provided by cameras (a) had not paid the fine after six months and (b) had the fine written off as uncollectable in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Leslie: Information on the number of motorists fined as a result of safety camera evidence is collected by the Home Office. The most recent data available are contained in the attached table. Details of the number of motorists that do not pay their fine after six months and/or had the fine written off is not collected centrally. On 5 January I introduced a new policy, from which date fines can no longer be written off. Improving fine enforcement, including for speeding offences, is a priority and good progress continues to be made in improving performance in England and Wales. For the first full quarter of 200405 (April to June) the national payment rate was 81 per cent.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans his Department has to bring forward plans to circumscribe the powers of the House of Lords. 
Mr. Leslie: The powers of the House of Lords can only be determined when its proper role and functions are decided in relation to that of the House of Commons. The Government will revert to the question in its party manifesto.
Following a detailed evaluation exercise, two options remain under active consideration. They are Middlesex Guildhall and the New Wing of Somerset. We are continuing to investigate the relative qualitative and financial merits of those two buildings in consultation with the Lords of Appeal before announcing a final decision in the autumn.
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1059W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|