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13 Jan 2010 : Column 1006W—continued

Richard Burden: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will place in the Library a copy of the speech by the Attorney General to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in January 2010 on the operation of the law
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of universal jurisdiction in the UK in relation to the possibility of Israeli officials, politicians or military personnel being arrested if they travel to the UK. [310077]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 11 January 2009]: A copy of the Attorney General's Lionel Cohen Lecture at Hebrew university is available on the website of the British Embassy in Israel:

and I will arrange for a copy to be deposited in the Library of the House.

Mr. Marshall-Andrews: To ask the Solicitor-General what (a) groups and (b) individuals the Attorney General met on her visit to Israel on 5 January 2010. [310435]

The Solicitor-General: On 5 January 2010 the Attorney General met with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Minister of Justice Yaacov Ne'eman with accompanying officials. She also met with the President of the Supreme Court, Dorit Beinish and had an informal lunch with other Justices of the Supreme Court. Additionally she met with the Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of Hebrew university and delivered a lecture to an audience of students, faculty members and media at the university. The following day she had further meetings in Ramallah with the Palestinian Minister of Justice AH Khashan and Attorney General Ahmad Al-Mughani, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Council Dr Jallad, as well as representatives from the Independent Commission for Human Rights and representatives from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

Mr. Marshall-Andrews: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Attorney General's recent visit to Israel was arranged before 12 December 2009. [310436]

The Solicitor-General: Yes. The Attorney General was fulfilling a commitment to deliver the Lionel Cohen Lecture for 2009 at Hebrew university. This lecture was originally scheduled for June 2009, but was rearranged following the postponement of a visit at that time.


Chris Huhne: To ask the Solicitor-General how many employees of the Law Officers' Departments have been convicted of a criminal offence of each type in each year since 1997. [308505]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney Generals' Office, Treasury Solicitors and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate have no recorded instances of any member of staff being convicted of a criminal offence during this period.

In respect of the Serious Fraud Office and the National Fraud Authority there have been fewer than five prosecutions or convictions of staff in any one year. Therefore this information is withheld on grounds of confidentiality.

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The National Fraud Authority is unable to disclose this information for reasons of confidentiality. This applies to the period since the Agency's launch in 2008 to present.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has maintained a central record of staff convicted of more significant criminal offences from the year 2000. The CPS does not maintain centralised records of staff convicted of minor criminal acts and would incur disproportionate cost in retrieving this information.

Due to the very small number of staff convicted for more serious offences for each year, the CPS is not prepared to disclose the specific details on grounds of confidentiality. The following table provides information on the number of more serious convictions of CPS staff between 2000 and 2009:

Criminal convictions for significant offences






















Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) became an independent Prosecutions Office on 18 April 2005 and was merged with the Crown Prosecution Service on 1 January 2010. There are no records of any former RCPO employees having been convicted of a criminal offence.



Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what assessment he has made of the merits of establishing a libel tribunal as the preliminary forum for libel cases; [309689]

(2) what assessment he has made of the merits of setting an upper limit for damages in libel cases. [309690]

Bridget Prentice: In response to concerns about the possibility that our libel laws are having a chilling effect on freedom of expression, the Government are setting up a working group to examine issues relating to the substantive law on libel. The terms of reference of this group are

The group will determine the priorities on which it wishes to focus, which may include the issues to which the hon. Member's questions refer.

The working group will include media and defamation lawyers, academics, and representatives from those campaigning for libel reform and the scientific community.
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The scope of the group's considerations will extend to all aspects of substantive libel law in England and Wales, but will exclude issues relating to costs in defamation proceedings, where work is already under way. The working group is intended to have an intensive, short-term focus and has been requested to make recommendations by mid-March.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of measures to reduce defamation proceedings costs introduced on 1 October 2009. [309763]

Bridget Prentice: The Government indicated in the response to the consultation 'Controlling costs in defamation proceedings', published on 24 September 2009, that we would be monitoring the effect of the pilot and considering what further measures are needed to control costs in this area. The impact assessment further confirmed that the costs budgeting pilot would be reviewed after six months and that the measures relating to ATE insurance would be reviewed in the light of the recommendations arising from Lord Justice Jackson's review of civil litigation costs which I understand will be published on 14 January 2010.

Departmental Assets

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assets of his Department are planned to be sold in (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11; what the (i) description and (ii) book value is of each such asset; what the expected revenue is from each such sale; and by what date each such asset is expected to have been sold. [309921]

Mr. Wills: I refer the hon. Member to the response provided by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Straw) on 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 50W.

Departmental Domestic Visits

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many planned visits by Ministers in his Department within the UK were cancelled within 72 hours of the visit taking place in the last 12 months; and what the planned venue or venues were for each such visit. [309874]

Mr. Wills: From January 2009 to January 2010, there were seven ministerial visits cancelled with less than 72 hours notice. The following table details the dates and venues.

Ministers appreciate the preparation and effort that goes into organising their visits; as such, any decision to cancel a visit will have been due to adverse weather, travel disruptions or essential parliamentary business.

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Date of visit Venue


2 February

Visit to East Hertfordshire Probation

5 February

Nottingham Speakers Corner Trust Event

5 February

Portsmouth Combined Court and Judge Black

26 February

Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre

27 March

HMP Bronzefield

12 November

Annual Youth Justice Convention and Wirral Youth Offending Service


8 January

Plymouth Probation Offices

Departmental Internet

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will list the redesigns of websites operated by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies since 27 June 2007; and what the (i) cost to the public purse and (ii) date of completion of each such redesign was. [306165]

Mr. Wills: A major refresh was carried out in early 2009 to improve the quality of the Ministry of Justice website:

Costs include research, redesign, prototype build and content migration by external suppliers. It is not possible to separately identify the in-house staffing costs associated with this project and therefore these costs are not included. There were also no hosting or infrastructure changes.

Visitors to the MOJ website have more than doubled since the creation of the Department in May 2007 and user research demonstrated a need to improve the user experience, providing easier access to information and services and delivering more engaging content. The redesigned website delivered simpler navigation, improved news and consultations pages, enhanced search functionality and the capability to deliver visual and audio content (i.e. embedding YouTube).

As there is more use of the internet for Government services, we need to make information about the work of the Department more readily available to citizens and the media, enhancing transparency and accountability for what we do. All our internet users-who include legal practitioners, academics and researchers-are able to use the range of resources published on our website either to work more efficiently within the justice system or to engage with the Department's day-to-day work and to contribute to our published consultations on proposals for change. This is the basis for investment in better web services for citizens.

(a) Other web site redesign work carried out since 27 June 2007 for agencies of the Ministry of Justice:

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Human Trafficking

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice where potential victims of trafficking are accommodated whilst their case is assessed by the competent authority under the national referral mechanism. [309602]

Claire Ward: Potential victims of trafficking are able to access specialist supported accommodation from the time a referral is made into the national referral mechanism (NRM). This accommodation may be provided by the Government-funded service provider-the Poppy Project, or by other third sector organisations. This support is available throughout the NRM process. Additionally, victims that claim asylum are eligible for asylum support and may be accommodated by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). Potential victims of trafficking under the age of 18 are accommodated by local authorities.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many safe accommodation beds for victims of human trafficking his Department plans to fund over the next three years. [309603]

Claire Ward: The Government have invested £3.9 million over two years (2009-10 to 2010-11) in specialist services for victims of all forms of human trafficking. This investment provides 54 safe accommodation beds on a rolling basis through the Poppy Project, and includes flexible support and safe accommodation arrangements for victims of trafficking for forced labour. The success of these arrangements will inform funding decisions for the 2011-12 period and beyond.

Life Imprisonment

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people sentenced to a life term have been convicted of a homicide offence following their release in the last 10 years. [309852]

Claire Ward: Data taken from the police national computer (PNC) show that 10 people convicted of homicide (covering murder, manslaughter and infanticide) between 2000 and 2008 had previously received a life sentence for an earlier offence. It is not possible to give complete data where those already in prison may have been convicted of a further homicide.

These figures have been drawn from the police's administrative IT system, which, as with any large scale recording system, is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the police. Data before 2000 are not available.

Further information on homicides is collected and published by the Home Office and can be found at:

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