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20 Dec 2004 : Column 1386W—continued

Gyms

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many gyms are available to the staff in the Department; and what the cost of providing them was in the last year for which figures are available. [204362]

Mr. Lammy: There are three gyms to which staff have access in the Department for Constitutional Affairs. These are:

The facilities at the Royal Courts of Justice and Selborne House are operated by the private sector and the facility at Priory Court is operated solely through membership fees. Consequently, no operational costs fall to the Department.

Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes

Ross Cranston: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment he has made of the Legal Services Commission evaluation of housing possession court duty schemes; and what plans he has for extending them beyond the existing pilots. [204941]

Mr. Lammy: The Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme has had a positive impact on outcomes for defendants facing housing possession orders, for the court service and for local service provision overall. In eight-nine per cent. of cases, possession orders were suspended, adjourned, dismissed or withdraw. Fifty-seven per cent. of clients using the scheme were found to have other problems, and were referred to other appropriate local services. The scheme has highlighted
 
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particular problems facing defendants in possession order cases, such as tendencies among landlords to advise defendants that they do not need to attend court.

The service will continue where it is identified as a priority by individual Legal Services Commission regional offences. Provision of the scheme will be one in the range of services which each regional office can contract for from its overall budget for controlled work.

IT Contracts

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the (a) projected cost at the time of tender and (b) actual cost at the time of completion was for each IT contract commissioned by the Department or its predecessors in the last five years. [201614]

Mr. Leslie: For my Department, there are four relevant IT contracts. These are for Fujitsu Services; STL; Accenture; and Cable & Wireless.

(a) the projected costs of these contracts at time of tender are:

(b) all these contracts are ongoing, so costs at time of completion do not apply. The current values of each of the contracts are as follows:

IT Systems

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the reasons are for the increase in the cost of running the Money Claim Online software systems between 2002 and 2002–03. [206072]

Mr. Lammy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 6 December 2004, Official Report, column 365W. The running costs for Money Claim Online attributed up to March 2002 was for a period of three months. The cost for 2002–03 covered a period of 12 months.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the cost will be of rolling out the Exchange Hearing Information by Internet Technology scheme to every Crown court within the criminal justice areas in England and Wales. [206073]

Mr. Leslie: The cost of rolling out XHIBIT (exchange Hearing Information By Internet Technology) to every Crown court within the 42 criminal justice areas in England and Wales will be £20 million.

Legal Aid (Civil Cases)

Ross Cranston: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was spent on non-family legal aided civil cases in each of the last 20 years; how many cases involved (a) legal
 
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representation and (b) other legal advice and assistance in each year; and what the average costs of (a) and (b) were in each year. [204990]

Mr. Lammy: It is not possible to answer in precisely the way the question has been put because the Legal Services Commission does not hold information on the basis of cases but on the number and value of bills paid.

The following table presents the information requested on the basis of bills.
£ million

Total civil
non-family
Representation
Advice and
Assistance(23)
ExpenditureBill volumeAverage costBill volumeAverage cost
2003–0460947,1447,017540,175515
2002–0367462,8806,414566,321478
2001–0276884,0445,974546,684414
2000–01669108,0134,876518,910275
1999–2000671115,7144,570804,101176
1998–99703132,6484,392766,091157
1997–98692155,7373,764800,591132
1996–97663176,1393,246755,596120
1995–96596182,1922,805737,782115
1994–95514169,2942,589752,130100
1993–94455167,1152,267794,60296
1992–93369148,6212,076675,50789
1991–92276129,5291,780544,96483
1990–91196103,8931,596418,08673
1989–9016396,8941,425396,06862
1988–8913391,1381,242377,86854
1978–8811083,6201,060411,24251
1986–879276,971970358,47348
1985–868273,001904341,31246
1984–857175,718776290,37843


(23) Advice and assistance includes all other non-family civil legal help outside of certificated representation


MEPs

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what measures the Department has taken to ensure that the UK complies with the requirement that Members of the European Parliament shall not have a dual mandate with the legislature of a member state; and if he will make a statement. [206307]

Mr. Leslie: Council Decision 2002/772/EC provides that from the European Parliamentary Elections in 2004, membership of the European Parliament is no longer compatible with membership of a national parliament.

The European Communities (Definition of Treaties) (Common Electoral Principles) Order 2004, adopted this Decision into UK law, and came into force on 1 April 2004. Also, the European Parliamentary Elections (Common Electoral Principles) Regulations 2004 made minor consequential changes to the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, so that it is in accordance with the Decision.

Parents Without Care

Mr. Drew: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what criteria have to be satisfied by a parent without care, where there is a failure of the parent with care to comply with the terms of a contact order, in order to qualify for legal aid; and what other forms of support the Department offers to such people. [205361]


 
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Mr. Lammy: Legal aid is available for private law children cases, including contact disputes, subject to statutory tests of the applicant's financial means and the merits of the case. The means and merits tests apply to both parents with and without care.

The Government published a Consultation Paper; 'Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parents' Responsibilities' on 21 July 2004. It sets out a range of proposals designed to improve the help and support available to parents who are separated. The Government are now considering the responses received. The Government have already made clear their intention to bring forward new primary legislation to provide new powers to improve the facilitation and enforcement of contact orders.


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