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Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make it her policy that inquests into the deaths of soldiers in Iraq be undertaken by the coroner whose area of jurisdiction covers the home address of the soldier in question. 
In accordance with section 8 of the Coroners Act 1988 a coroner must hold an inquest when it is reported to him that the body of a deceased person is lying in his district and the death was violent, unnatural or sudden or of unknown cause. In 1983 the Appeal Court ruled in the case of R. v. West Yorkshire Coroner ex parte Smith that this duty applied (in respect of the legislation then extant and which remains unchanged) even in cases where both the death and its cause occurred outside England and Wales and was not discretionary. Under section 14 of the 1988 Act the coroner who has the body may request another coroner to hold the inquest if it is expedient to do so.
In 1983 the Home Office (then responsible for coroners law) issued a circular to all coroners drawing their attention to the Smith judgment and advising that, in cases involving a single death from outside England and Wales, the coroner local to where the funeral is to be held should normally deal with the inquest. It is for the coroner for the district where the body first arrived from abroad to make the decision whether to ask the local coroner to take the case in accordance with section 14 of the 1988 Act. The circular also advised that, where more than one death occurred abroad in the same incident, the coroner for the district where the bodies first arrived should retain jurisdiction.
Law Society and is independent of Government. All panel members are solicitors. The panel provided the following information:
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Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect on the number of delayed and ineffective trials in magistrates courts of the implementation of the new means test for legal aid; and if she will make a statement. 
to draw firm conclusions about its overall impact. Delays and ineffective hearings have been reported in some areas, particularly where solicitors are operating protocols. In other areas, the new scheme is starting to work effectively, as practitioners and others adjust to the new scheme. The Government will continue to monitor implementation closely, and will keep the working of the scheme under active review.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the (a) nationality, (b) residence and (c) citizenship criteria are for (i) access to and (ii) eligibility for civil legal aid. 
Vera Baird: There is no residence, nationality or citizenship qualification for receiving civil legal aid funding. Funding is available to anyone who qualifies, provided the applicant is using the courts of England and Wales and the case is within the scope of the scheme. Each application for funding is treated on an individual basis and is subject only to the statutory tests of the means of the applicant and the merits of their case.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many and what proportion of magistrates in London, appointed since 1996, lived in the top 10 per cent. of the most deprived wards at the time of their appointment; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many and what proportion of magistrates in the Teesside area appointed since 1997 lived in the top 10 per cent. of deprived wards at the time of their appointment. 
Ms Harman: This Department does not record details showing how many and what proportion of magistrates lived in deprived wards at the time of their appointment. Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace follow the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellors Directions when making recommendations for appointment to the magistracy. This provides guidance that each Local Justice Area should broadly reflect the community it serves in terms of gender, ethnic origin, age, disability, geographical spread, occupation, and industry.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what events took place in Mediation Week 2006 sponsored by her Department; and what the outcomes were of the project. 
displays and stands in local shopping centres;
helpdesks at courts providing information on mediation;
open days at court centres giving the public the opportunity to meet a qualified mediator;
seminars about mediation for the legal profession and local advice sector;
mock mediation role plays to illustrate the process.
The initial feedback from the organisers of these events is that the week has been a success. A full evaluation will be carried out over the next few months, and used to inform the plans for next year.
Ms Harman: During the last 12 months I have visited Wales once and have not visited Northern Ireland. All ministerial visits are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to her statement of 12 October 2006, Official Report, column 26WS, on Oxfordshire inquests, what the projected time scale is for conducting the outstanding inquests; and if she will make further provision to deal with future cases arising from armed forces and civilian deaths in conflict. 
Ms Harman: It is expected that all inquests into deaths which occurred before 16 May 2006 and where the Ministry of Defence has completed its inquiries and case papers have been prepared will be either heard or listed before the end of this year. Inquests into deaths which occurred on or after 16 May will be heard as soon as possible. Discussions on the future arrangements for such cases are ongoing between officials in the Ministry of Defence, the coroner and this Department.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was spent on the Judges Pension Scheme in each year since 1980-81; what forecasts she has made of how much will be spent in each year between 2007-08 and 2050-51; and how many members of the scheme there are. 
Ms Harman: My Department has had financial and accounting responsibility for the Judicial Pension Schemes since 1 April 2003. Financial information on the schemes was not accounted for separately prior to that date.
Information about scheme cost and membership (active and retired members) is included in the Scheme Resource Accounts which have been published for the years 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06, and laid in the Library of the House.
Department, which details the scheme liability, and the capitalised value as at 31 March of each year of expected benefit entitlements under the scheme for benefits accrued in respect of service (or former service) prior to 31 March. The Report of the Scheme Actuary also sets out the methodology used in calculating that liability and the principal financial assumptions used, including the discount rate.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when she expects the inquest into the death of Flight Lieutenant Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill will be (a) allocated to a named coroner and (b) heard. 
Ms Harman: I understand that the inquest into the death of Flight Lieutenant Mulvihill and her colleagues has been allocated to assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker. A date for the resumption of the inquest will be fixed when the Board of Inquiry report has been completed.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the cost was of the Government Social Research Service in her Department in each of the last five years; how many projects have been completed by the service in that period; and how many people are employed in the service in her Department. 
Vera Baird: All Government Social Researchers in DCA are located within the departmental research unit. Within this unit there are both specialist researchers and support staff. There are currently eight Government Social Researchers employed in DCA. The following list details departmental research unit spend for the last five financial years:
|Total research spend by financial year (including paybill and running costs)|
|(1) Please note DCA was created in June 2003. Earlier figures relate to the Lord Chancellors Department.|
The total spend by the Government Social Research service (GSR) in DCA does not necessarily equate to the total spend by DCA on social research, as research may be commissioned by others as part of wider projects. Records show a total of about 50 completed projects in that period funded by the service.
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