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Lord Dubs: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his Answer. Does he agree that the proposal to demilitarise the island, involving both a significant reduction in armed forces in the area of the republic and also that occupied by the Turkish Army, is the best way forward for reaching a settlement and ending 21 years of military occupation of northern Cyprus by the Turkish army?

Lord Chesham: My Lords, I certainly agree that demilitarisation from both sides will have considerable advantage in the discussions in trying to get the two sides together.

Lord Vivian: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that it has been reported that the Greek Cypriots have recently spent many millions of pounds, representing a large part of their GDP, on new and highly technical weapons systems?

Lord Chesham: My Lords, we are aware of that report. We do not believe that any form of re-arming can be helpful in this situation.

Lord Monson: My Lords, at a time when 60,000 NATO troops are being put into Bosnia--where there are many parallels with Cyprus--in order to prevent people of different religious affiliations from killing one another, would it not be the height of folly to withdraw troops from Cyprus before a political settlement is reached? The certain consequence would be fighting

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between Greek civilians attempting to repossess their properties in the north after 21 years and the present Turkish occupants who would undoubtedly resist them.

Lord Chesham: My Lords, when we talk about demilitarisation, it is demilitarisation on both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot sides. We are not talking about demilitarisation of UN troops, which hold the sides apart.

Lord Stallard: My Lords, would the Minister care to enlarge on the constructive proposals for demilitarisation recently put forward by President Clerides of the republic? Can he tell us the response from the occupied part in the north?

Lord Chesham: My Lords, discussions are taking place which are confidential at the moment. We trust that they will be successful, but I should hate to prejudice that by answering the question at this stage.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, as my noble friend said, it is 21 years since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The island is still divided and occupied. Can the Minister tell the House whether, as one of the guarantor powers, the Government are happy with the progress which has been made on the matter? Perhaps the involvement of the United States will help. Can the Minister also tell the House what the Government expect to be the outcome of the visit by the US presidential envoy this week to Cyprus?

Lord Chesham: My Lords, we work closely with the US to establish a channel for confidential dialogue between the two communities. So far the talks have not been as productive as we would hope. We are doing everything we can and pushing like mad to come to some settlement. As to the results of the meeting this week, we shall have to wait for it to take place.

Lord Mowbray and Stourton: My Lords, will my noble friend agree that, despite the blandishments of the noble Baroness and other noble Lords, 21 years ago the Turks suffered a lot of hassle on the part of the Government of Cyprus? I agree that it was an invasion but it was not totally without provocation.

Lord Chesham: My Lords, I do not believe that there is anything to be gained from blaming one side or the other. A just, peaceful and lasting settlement requires the free consent of both communities. That cannot be achieved by bullying.

Judicial Review Challenges: Cost

2.54 p.m.

Lord Ewing of Kirkford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total cost to public funds of successful challenges by judicial review of decisions made by the Home Secretary in the 1994-95 Session of Parliament.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): My Lords, it is only possible to estimate the total cost to the Home Office of all judicial review

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applications made in the past year. The total cost, which includes Treasury Solicitor's charges, counsel's fees and the time of Home Office lawyers, is thought to be about £2 million. It is not possible to say what proportion of the cost related to successful challenges by judicial review, but the vast majority of applications are judged to be without foundation.

Lord Ewing of Kirkford: My Lords, that figure is absolutely scandalous. Is the Minister aware that, despite all the legal advice the Home Secretary is bound to receive from his own legally qualified officials and despite repeated warnings from noble and learned Lords in all parts of your Lordships' House, the Home Secretary gets his head down and bulldozes ahead with legislation which is subsequently overturned in the courts? Is the Minister aware that if the Home Secretary were a local councillor he would be surcharged? What arrangements are being made to surcharge him? He has become an expensive luxury which the taxpayer simply cannot afford.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, so long as it is the right of individuals to challenge the Home Secretary by using the judicial review process, it is important that they should be afforded that right. When they challenge the Home Secretary, it is important that he gives account of himself in the process. The £2 million which I mentioned in my original Answer covers all judicial challenges to my right honourable friend. Over 90 per cent. of the cases are found in his favour. Only 10 cases involving important decisions have resulted in adverse findings since my right honourable friend became Home Secretary.

Lord Rawlinson of Ewell: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that some of the decisions that have been made caused considerable surprise? One, in particular, was the decision to overrule the Home Secretary's refusal to allow Mr. Moon into this country. His organisation was examined by a jury of this country and found to be a political organisation. Is the Minister therefore aware that some people are surprised at certain decisions recently made by judges?

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, my noble and learned friend is absolutely right. I trust that noble Lords believe, as I and millions of others do, that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary was right to exclude the Reverend Moon from the United Kingdom. Indeed, the judge himself declined to find my right honourable friend's decision irrational. However, the judge found him wanting in that an opportunity to make representations had not been given to Mr. Moon.

To continue the point made by my noble and learned friend, it is also worth noting that the judges themselves are not always in agreement. To take the case of criminal injuries compensation, it is noteworthy that of the 10 judges who considered the case, five found in favour of my right honourable friend and five against. The two judges in the Divisional Court found for him, as did one of the three judges in the Court of Appeal

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and two of the five judges in the House of Lords. It is not only the Home Secretary who is challenged: sometimes the judges themselves do not agree.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe: My Lords, in view of the legal profession's growing awareness of the problem of its fees, will the Minister agree that this is a suitable case where both solicitors and barristers might be encouraged to give their services free?

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I believe that that is a question for our friends in the judiciary.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, will the Minister agree that whether or not we are surprised is fairly irrelevant? What matters is that the separation of powers under the unwritten constitution between the independent judiciary and the Executive should always be maintained. The cost of the percentage of successful challenges affords no cause for legitimate concern.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely right. It is important to put on record that my right honourable friend only uses those powers which are given to him by a sovereign Parliament.

Lord Bruce of Donington: My Lords, would it not be good if Her Majesty's Government devoted as much care and detailed attention to the drafting of legislation as Her Majesty's judges do in reviewing some of its consequences?

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, that is an important point. Recent changes have made it easier for Parliament to consider legislation; for example, the work of the scrutiny committee which takes place before Bills go into Committee. So the point is important. However, at the end of the day it is for Parliament to decide and for Home Secretaries to use the powers given to them by a sovereign Parliament.

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, the Court of Appeal has today allowed the Home Secretary's appeal in the case of John David Pierson. It set aside the decision of the Divisional Court which had quashed the Home Secretary's tariff and accepted that the Home Secretary had been entitled to increase the tariff. How many cases does the Home Secretary win that we never hear about? What is the percentage?

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, it is welcome news that my right honourable friend was found to be entirely lawful in using his powers, both to set the tariff and to increase it. My right honourable friend wins over 90 per cent. of applications; therefore the cases that he loses are few. Two cases last week were very good examples, among so many, of findings in favour of the Home Secretary. We have heard very little about them. There was enormous publicity and media outcry when Mr. Justice Dyson held the detention of certain asylum seekers to be unlawful but hardly a whisper when the Appeal Court comprehensively overturned that judgment. The truth

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is that when the Home Secretary loses, there is a great wave of publicity. Of the 90 per cent. of cases he wins, there is hardly a whisper.

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