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19 Nov 2007 : Column 506W—continued


Administration of Justice: Freemasonry

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether it remains the practice to require new applicants to become magistrates and members of the judiciary to declare membership of the Freemasons; and what declarations were made by each current office holder. [165315]

Maria Eagle: With effect from 1998 anyone appointed for the first time by the Lord Chancellor to judicial office, including the magistracy, has been asked, as a condition of appointment, whether they belong to the Freemasons. They are further asked that they notify the Lord Chancellor if they subsequently join them. These requirements remain in force.

Judicial office holders appointed before 1998 were not required to make a declaration. However, they were invited to make a voluntary declaration and the majority of them did so.

The latest available figures indicate that 5.4 per cent. of judicial office holders and 6.4 per cent. of magistrates have declared that they are freemasons.

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Antisocial Behaviour: Fixed penalties

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many penalty notices for disorder were issued in each year since their inception; and what estimate he has made of the average administrative cost of issuing such an order. [165424]

Maria Eagle: In 2004 there were 63,639 issued for all offences in England and Wales, rising to 146,481 in 2005. Information for 2006 will be available at the end of November 2007.

The Home Office consultation paper “Strengthening powers to tackle anti-social behaviour” published on 14 November 2006 estimated the cost of a PND, including compliance, enforcement and appeal costs, to be £91 per PND issued.

Courts: Colchester

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make a statement on the establishment of a new courthouse at Colchester. [165908]

Maria Eagle: Work to finalise the outline business case for the Essex magistrates courts scheme, of which Colchester is a part, is being progressed as one of the priorities within the court building programme. This includes the evaluation of procurement routes to ensure the selected route represents best value for money for the taxpayer. The outline business case is due to be completed early in 2008 and submitted for approval to proceed by the end of the financial year.

Crime: Victims

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance has been issued to staff in his Department and its public agencies with regard to the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power and Annex. [166101]

Maria Eagle: We have not issued guidance relating to this 1985 UN Declaration. However, the Government remain firmly committed to rebalancing the Criminal Justice System in favour of victims and witnesses, as is compliant with the spirit of the Declaration. We have introduced extensive reforms, including a Victims Surcharge to divert money from offenders to victims, given a significant increase in resources to Victim Support, established witness care units to provide tailored support during trial, and introduced a code of practice to give victims statutory rights for the first time. Furthermore our criminal injuries compensation scheme is the most generous within the European Union, paying out some £200 million a year to around 30,000 victims of violent crime.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to review or reform the work of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. [164490]

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Maria Eagle: The Government are still considering the future of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority following the public consultation launched by the Green Paper “Rebuilding Lives: supporting victims of crime”, and will announce their intention in due course.

Democracy: Young People

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the total cost to the public purse was of the speed dating style youth conference held on 9 October. [164861]

Bridget Prentice: The total cost paid out so far, for “Your Vote Counts”, the Ministry of Justice’s youth conference held on 9 October is £27,465. We are awaiting a few invoices from schools and youth groups for their travel costs, 143 young people (113 from secondary schools and further education establishments and 30 from primary schools) and over 100 adults from schools, youth groups and youth organisations attended the event.

Departmental Flexible Working

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many staff (a) have applied to work flexible hours and (b) work flexible hours (i) in the Department and (ii) the executive agencies for which the Department is responsible; [164316]

(2) how many Privy Council staff (a) have applied to work flexible hours and (b) work flexible hours in the Privy Council. [164335]

Maria Eagle: All parts of the Ministry of Justice offer flexible working to all staff where operational and business constraints permit as a tool to improve work life balance. The Ministry of Justice offers a wide range of flexible working arrangements—compressed working, flexible start/finish times, term-time working and part-time working. The number of applications for flexible working is not collated centrally so it is not possible to give a figure for the number of staff who work flexibly without incurring disproportionate cost.

Deportation: Jamaica

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government are taking to further negotiations with the Jamaican Government to facilitate the return of Jamaican nationals convicted in the UK to serve their sentence in Jamaica; and if he will make a statement. [164419]

Mr. Hanson: The United Kingdom and Jamaica signed a limited prisoner transfer agreement on 26 June 2007. This is the first prisoner transfer agreement to be signed by the Jamaican Government and it requires changes to Jamaican law before the agreement can enter into force.

Domestic Violence: Homicide

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) men and (b) women were killed by their current or former partners in each of the last five years. [163734]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

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Information relating to homicides recorded during the period 2001-02 to 2005-06 was published in table 1.05 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin “Homicides,
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Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence, 2005/2006” (HOSB 02/07) and is shown in the following table.

Homicides currently recorded( 1) in England and Wales where victim is partner/ex-partner of principal suspect, 2001-02 to 2005-06( 2)
Victim gender
Year offence initially recorded as homicide( 3) Male Female
















(1) As at 9 October 2006; figures are revised as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available.
(2) Data for 2006-07 are scheduled to be published in late January 2008.
(3) Homicide offences are shown according to the year in which the police initially recorded the offence as homicide. This is not necessarily the year in which the incident took place or the year in which any court decision was made.
Table 1.05 of HOSB 02/07

Driving Under Influence: Drugs

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many drivers were (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for the offence of driving under the influence of drugs in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [165187]

Maria Eagle: Available but incomplete information on the number of proceedings and findings of guilt for the offence, from 2004 to 2005 (latest available) is provided in the table. The incompleteness is due to some data received by my Department not being able to distinguish between drink and drugs when driving under the influence.

2006 data will be available next year.

Proceedings at magistrates courts and findings of guilt at all courts for the offence of driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs , England and Wales, 2003-05
Number of offences
2003 2004 2005
Offence type Proceedings Findings of guilt Proceedings Findings of guilt Proceedings Findings of guilt

Unfit to drive through drugs (impairment) (1)







In charge of motor vehicle while unfit through drugs (impairment) (2)







n/a = data not available
(1) Offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s. 4 (1)
(2) Offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s. 4 (2)
1. Some data providers have been unable to distinguish between drink and drugs when driving under the influence. Such data have been excluded from the table.
2. It is known that for some police force areas, the reporting of court proceedings in particular those relating to summary motoring offences, may be less than complete.
3. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by police forces and the courts.
As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Fixed Penalties

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many penalty charge notices have been issued in each region of the UK in each of the last five years; [164646]

(2) how many penalty charge notices have been issued by each local authority in each of the last five years; [164647]

(3) how many penalty charge notices have been issued by each local authority in each of the last 12 months. [164648]

Maria Eagle: Under the Road Traffic Act 1991, Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) powers allow local authorities to take over responsibility for enforcing breaches of parking regulations from the police. Available information on penalty charge notices issued by result and individual local authority was first published in the annual Home Office publication “Offences relating to motor vehicles, England and Wales 2002, Supplementary tables”—tables 22(a) to 22(b). Copies of the annual publications from 2002 to 2005 (latest available) are available in the Libraries of the House.

Within England and Wales, penalty charge notices data are submitted to the Ministry of Justice on a calendar year basis from local authorities and do not contain a month by month breakdown.

Information on matters arising in Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Office respectively.

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General Election 2005: Ballot Papers

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many ballot papers were rejected at the 2005 General Election. [164092]

Bridget Prentice: At the 2005 UK parliamentary election, the total number of ballot papers that were either rejected at verification or not counted at the count was 182786.

A breakdown of the number of rejected and spoilt ballots can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website:

Judges: Public Appointments

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what process was followed in the appointment of (a) Crown, (b) county, (c) high and (d) Appeal Court judges over the last five years; whether consideration is given to a candidate’s stated political views; how many candidates were rejected; and if he will make a statement. [165721]

Mr. Straw: Since April 2006, the independent Judicial Appointments Commission has had the responsibility for appointments and has set out the qualities and abilities it believes are necessary for judicial office. These are: intellectual capacity, personal qualities, the ability to understand and treat fairly, authority and communication skills and efficiency. The Commission determines its own selection processes.

Prior to the transfer of responsibility, the process for selection for appointments varied for different appointments and evolved over time. However, immediately prior to the creation of the Commission, the following general steps formed the outline for all selection exercises for appointments below the High Court: application, consultation, sift and interviews and/or assessment centres. For the final High Court exercise before 2006 the process was the same except that candidates were not interviewed but considered on the papers by the selection panel. For all exercises, applicants were assessed against published criteria for the appointment in question. In addition to the minimum criteria set out in law for appointment to each level of post, applicants have to demonstrate that they have the qualities and abilities needed to successfully take on judicial office, including relevant knowledge and experience, independence, professionalism, judgment and people skills. Information about candidates’ political views is neither sought nor taken into account in the selection process.

The following tables set out the numbers of applicants for (save for the Court of Appeal), and appointments to, salaried judicial posts (not including magistrates) in the Courts system for the five-year period 2002-03 to 2006-07, plus appointments to the fee-paid position of Recorder. It is not possible to identify separately appointments to the Crown court and county court as judges on the Circuit Bench and Recorders are deployed to either. District Judges only sit in the county court.

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Court of Appeal











High Court
Applicants Appointed















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