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Mr. Dunne: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what provisions her Department has made for those seeking specialist advice on complex cases, following the decision of the Legal Services Commission to withdraw funding from the Citizens Advice Bureau. 
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what effect on costs to the public purse are expected from the decision of the Legal Services Commission to withdraw funding from the Citizens Advice Bureau for specialist support and advice to clients on complex cases in (a) Shropshire and (b) England. 
Bridget Prentice: The Legal Services Commission's decision to withdraw funding for specialist support services will refocus resources within the existing civil legal aid budget in England and Wales. It is not intended to increase or decrease costs overall.
John Mann: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what discussions she has had with the legal services ombudsman about the powers available to strike off solicitors who do not abide by Law Society adjudication decisions. 
None. The legal services ombudsman currently has no powers to strike off solicitors who do not abide by Law Society adjudication panel's decisions. If a solicitor fails to comply with an adjudication panel decision that can in itself amount to professional misconduct and the Law Society has the power to institute disciplinary proceedings before
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the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on that basis. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has the power to strike a solicitor off the roll for professional misconduct.
Ms Harman: The process for becoming a magistrate in Lancashire is the same as in other parts of England and Wales. Magistrates are appointed by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of and in the name of HM the Queen. Candidates are recommended for appointment by local Advisory Committees (ACs) following a two-stage interview process in which they will be assessed against six key personal qualities: good character, understanding and communication, social awareness, maturity and sound temperament, sound judgment and commitment and reliability. The process requires applicants to complete an application form, which is checked for eligibility. Successful candidates are subject to background checks for any conflicts of interest and exceptional circumstances before being recommended for appointment. The Lancashire AC has five sub-committees which engage in this process.
Ms Harman: Lancashire magistrates courts held 66,582 criminal proceedings, 1,184 family applications, 9,266 licensing applications, and 2,191 other civil applications in the financial year April 2004 to March 2005.
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what measures her Department is taking to ensure representation for consumer interests in the proposed Office for Legal Complaints. 
Bridget Prentice: I advised this House in my written statement of 17 October 2005, Official Report, column 41WS of the Government's proposals to take forward consumer focussed reform of the framework for the regulation of legal services. The proposals for the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) were set out in 'The Future of Legal Servicesputting the customers first' (Cm 6679) including that it should have a governing board with a lay majority. Members will also be required to have wide experience, including of consumer affairs and the needs of diverse consumers within society.
The Legal Services Board (LSB), which will set targets for the OLC and to which the OLC will be accountable, will also be required to establish and maintain a consumer panel to ensure that consumer needs inform its decisions, including in relation to its oversight of the OLC.
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Bridget Prentice: A draft Legal Services Bill, including provisions for the establishment of an Office for Legal Complaints, will receive pre-legislative scrutiny in this parliamentary session. Legislation will follow as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what arrangements her Department is making for the (a) financing and (b) staffing of the Office for Legal Complaints. 
Bridget Prentice: The Government are clear that the cost of the new arrangements should be met by the legal professions. We continue to engage with stakeholders on the detail, but the legislation will set out the broad parameters, which will provide for costs to be met through a combination of a general levy and a polluter pays mechanism.
The Government set out proposals in 'The Future of Legal Servicesputting the consumer first' (Cm 6679) for an Office for Legal Complaints that is a new and independent organisation in which consumers can have confidence. However, it is important to treat staff affected by these changes fairly, and the Government's position is that TUPE will govern the transfer of staff.
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what common features her Department plans to maintain between the customer complaints service of the Law Society and the Office for Legal Complaints. 
Bridget Prentice: The principal driver behind the Government's proposals is to put the consumer first. In achieving that, the Government will ensure that it maintains the best of the existing arrangements. The Office for Legal Complaints will incorporate a number of features that represent best practice, including being governed by a board consisting of a majority of lay members.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if the Government will take steps to lessen the differences in the number of people in each parliamentary constituency. 
Ms Harman: The Parliamentary Boundary Commissions review parliamentary boundaries every 8 to 12 years. The Boundary Commissions take into account the electoral quota, in addition to factors such as geographical and community matters. The Boundary Commission for England is currently conducting its General Review and is required to submit its report to Parliament by April 2007.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how many and what percentage of pre-trial hearings were estimated by her Department not to have gone ahead as planned in each of the last five years; 
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(2) what the most common reasons are for hearings not going ahead as planned; and how many cases were attributed to each of these reasons in each of the last five years. 
Peter Law: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which Government Department holds the collection of written submissions made to the inquiry held by Sir Richard Scott into military equipment exports to Iraq; and whether this information is publicly accessible on request. 
Ms Harman: The published Scott report is held at The National Archives. Further, additional material is held at the Cabinet Office, and requests to view this material can be made through a freedom of information inquiry.
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