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Ms Harman: Any party who qualifies for legal aid under the standard means and merits criteria can obtain legal advice and information on a variety of matters under the Legal Help scheme. In addition although most civil claims arising from death are outside the scope of civil legal aid, funding can be provided for claims concerning serious wrongdoing by a public authority or significant breach of human rights.
Legal aid for the family of the deceased for representation at an inquest is not normally available, but it can be granted in exceptional circumstances, subject to strict criteria. The Lord Chancellor also has the power to waive the legal aid financial eligibility limits in cases where Article 2 ECHR is likely to require it, providing it is reasonable to do so in all the circumstances of the case.
Tom Levitt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps the Department has taken to meet its statutory obligation as a public body in promoting the rights of disabled people. 
Bridget Prentice: The Department for Constitutional Affairs is mindful if its responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. It has put into place a programme to establish a Disability Equality Scheme which will be operative by December 2006. General action plans are in preparation for the Department for Constitutional Affairs and regional action plans are being prepared regarding specific duties. The Department has sought assistance from the Disability Rights Commission and Greater London Authority regarding its Disability Equality Scheme.
In order to obtain views from disabled staff on the Disability Equality Scheme, questionnaires were sent to all staff with a disability seeking their views/suggestions as to what should be included in the Scheme. The Disability Rights Commission has yet to define the Secretary of State's areas of responsibility for reporting on the Disability Equality Duty.
The Department's Disability Network has been influential, in conjunction with Human Resources, in arranging a specific training course for frontline staff designed to assist customers with disabilities to access its services more effectively. The Network has put together a step-by-step guidance manual for managers and staff detailing how the Department's services might be utilised.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many elections there were in each ward of (a) the Vale of Clwyd and (b) Denbighshire in each of the last 10 years. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list all marked electoral registers found to be missing (a) in whole or (b) in part since the Answer given on 30 November 2005, Official Report, column 642W. 
Ashton Under Lyne
Beverley and Holderness
Bristol North West
Carshalton and Wellington
Cities of London and Westminster
Ellesmere Port and Neston
Folkestone and Hythe
Grantham and Stamford
Hull West and Hessle
Lancaster and Wyre
Leyton and Wanstead
Milton Keynes South West
North East Hampshire
North East Hertfordshire
North West Hampshire
Rugby and Kenilworth
South West Norfolk
South West Surrey
Torridge and West Devon
Wolverhampton South East
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what progress has been made in negotiations with other EU member states on the European Small Claims Procedure in relation to (a) the proposed €2,000 limit and (b) the rule that the losing party would have to pay the losing party's costs. 
Bridget Prentice: While the Government would prefer the limit in the European Small Claims Procedure to be higher than €2,000, we recognise that different member states with varying costs of living have different needs. Although a fixed limit remains on the table, other options have also been raised. They include a range within which each member state will be able to set its own limit. The question has not yet been settled and negotiations continue.
The principle that the losing party normally pays their own costs as well as those of the winner has been agreed by member states. The Government have secured agreement that costs should be proportionate and discussions continue as how this is to be achieved.
Bridget Prentice: The Gender Recognition Act received Royal Assent in July 2004, and came into force in April 2005. During that period, a team in the Department for Constitutional Affairs oversaw the implementation process, including the setting up of the statutory Gender Recognition Panel. Other departments and agencies, including particularly the Office for National Statistics, also worked on the implementation process. As accounting structures do not precisely equate expenditure to individual Bills, and because of this multi-agency effort, I cannot provide precise figures for the implementation process; I can however provide these indicative numbers.
The budget for the Gender Recognition Project for financial year 2004-05, including costs to other departments, was £908,000; however, this also included the later stages of the parliamentary passage of the Gender Recognition Bill. Of this, between £300,000 and £400,000 was allocated for policy administration and staff costs. In the start-up budget for the Gender Recognition Panel, administrative start-up costs were estimated at £81,000,capital start-up costs were estimated at £128,000, programme start-up costswere estimated at £51,000, and rent start-up costs were estimated at £9,000.
The estimated cost for implementation by the Office for National Statistics was £200,000; this includes the establishment of the statutory Gender Recognition Register and preparing for the issue of new birth certificates to successful applicants as required by the Act. Costs to the Court Service were estimated at £34,000; this includes updating computer and other systems to allow for the new grounds for the annulment
of marriages and the issue thereafter of full Gender Recognition Certificates, as well as appeals to the High Court against decisions of the Gender Recognition Panel. These amounts are included in the total.
Bridget Prentice: The President of the Panel is His Honour Judge Harris, who is also President of Appeal Tribunals. The Deputy President is Mr. Jeremy Bennett, who is a Regional Chairman of Appeal Tribunals. Legal members of the Panel are salaried District Chairmen of Appeal Tribunals. None of these office holders receives any additional salary on account of his or her responsibilities in connection with the Panel. Medical members of the Panel are remunerated at the rate of £340 per day.
Sir John Stanley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which Government Ministers have had discussions with Spanish Ministers on the ratification of the Hague Convention of 1996 on the International Protection of Children; and on what dates such discussions took place. 
In addition to this, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Macshane) raised the issue in a meeting with the then Spanish Europe Minister on13 November 2003, when Minister for Europe. On24 November 2003 Baroness Scotland also discussed the issue with Ana Palacio, the then Spanish Foreign Minister.
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