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9 Feb 2005 : Column 1607W—continued

Divorced/Separated Parents

Keith Vaz: what the reasons were for the decision not to make negotiation compulsory in disputes between divorced or separated parents. [210230]

Mr. Leslie: [pursuant to the reply, 27 January 2005, Official Report, c.459W]: The Government published 'Parental Separation: Children's Needs and Parents' Responsibilities, Next Steps' on 18 January, which sets out plans to implement a range of measures to help separating parents in dispute about future parenting arrangements, reach agreement.

The Government's plans include improvements in the information available to parents and greater use of methods such as the Collaborative Law Model, Mediation, In-Court Conciliation and the Family Resolutions Pilot Project. The Government intends strongly to promote these methods as better ways to
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reach agreement than through contested court hearings. All publicly funded clients will have to show that they have considered mediation. Lawyers undertaking collaborative law work in the proposed pilot will be publicly funded, if their clients are eligible. Those same lawyers would not be funded by legal aid for any subsequent litigation if an out of court settlement is not reached under the Collaborative Law Scheme and the case proceeded to court. New lawyers would need to be instructed for the court proceedings and they would be funded separately, subject to their clients' eligibility. In addition, the Government, Senior Judiciary and Rules Committee plan to review court rules and practice directions so that the strongest possible encouragement is given to parties to participate in forms of dispute resolution.

We do not plan to make these schemes compulsory in every case, as an essential part of the process is that people come to them voluntarily and are therefore willing to participate. Further, in some cases, including those where domestic violence has been an issue, it would not always be appropriate to impose mediation on separating parents.

Electoral Registration (Service Personnel)

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many British service personnel registered as overseas electors in (a) 2001, (b) 2002, (c) 2003 and (d) 2004. [215284]

Mr. Leslie: As a result of provisions in the Representation of the People Act 2000, service personnel have been entitled to register to vote by completing a service declaration, as previously, or alternatively as either ordinary or overseas voters. It is not possible to identify separately those overseas electors who may also be service personnel.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many service personnel have been prosecuted for failure to register on the electoral rolls, in accordance with Regulation 23 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (S.I., 2001/341) since February 2001. [215333]

Mr. Leslie: Regulation 23 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 provides that an electoral registration officer may require any person to give information required for the purposes of that officer's duties in maintaining electoral registers. It is an offence for any person to fail to comply with, or to give false information in respect of such a request. Figures are not collected centrally in respect of prosecutions arising from these provisions, for any category of elector.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether all service personnel overseas voters have received a written reminder of their obligation to re-register on the electoral roll in accordance with Clause 25(2) of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (SI, 2001/341). [215487]

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Mr. Leslie: Regulation 25(2) of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 requires electoral registration officers to send annually a written reminder to service personnel who are registered by way of a service declaration of the need to make a fresh declaration if they wish to remain registered under this method. The reminder is sent to the address at which such personnel are recorded as being most recently resident. Service personnel who are registered as ordinary voters in respect of an address in the United Kingdom will be sent an annual canvass form to be completed and returned to the relevant electoral registration officer.

Judicial Appointments

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time judicial officer appointments have been made in each year since 1975. [215189]

Mr. Leslie: The number of full-time judicial officer appointments between the calendar years 1975 to 1997 is detailed in the following tables 1A and B. The tables include lay magistrates appointments from 1990 onwards.

The figures for the appointment of part-time judicial officers between 1975 and 1998, and for lay magistrates prior to 1990 are not given as they could be determined only at disproportionate cost.

The numbers of full-time and part-time judicial officer appointments for each year between 1998 and 2004 are set out in table 2. These figures are obtained from the Judicial Appointments Annual Reports to Parliament for each of the financial years from 1998 to 2004.
Table 1A: 1975 to 1984—Full-time appointments


Table 1B: 1985 to 1994—Full-time and lay magistrates appointments

Full timeLay magistrates

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Table 2: 1998–99 to 2003–04—Full-time, part-time (fee paid) and lay magistrates appointments

Full timePart timeTotalNumber of lay magistrates



Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent advertising the dangers of excessive alcohol in each of the last seven years. [213059]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Since 2002, the Department has funded through its central communications budget the production of the following booklets or leaflets advising the public on sensible drinking:

Two leaflets have been produced for specific communities:

Expenditure for these publications is shown in the table.
Amount (£)

(50) Up to and including quarter three.

Additionally, the Department funds the Drinkline helpline and a dedicated website at

Ambulance Services (Lancashire)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how long on average people waited for ambulances responding to 999 calls in Chorley in the last year for which figures are available; and how many times the target response time was missed during that period. [212041]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: This information is not collected centrally. Response time data for the Lancashire Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust for 2003–04 is available in the KA34 statistical bulletin. Copies are available in the Library.

In 2003–04, Lancashire Ambulance Service NHS Trust made 735,100 patient journeys, received 142,900 emergency calls and attended 136,100 emergency incidents. 77.7 per cent. of category A (immediately life-threatening) calls were responded to within eight minutes. 95.3 per cent. of category B/C (less urgent) calls were responded to within 19 minutes. 96.4 per cent. of general practitioner urgent journeys reached their destination not more than 15 minutes late.

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