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Liberia: Flag of Convenience

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Viscount Goschen: Liberia currently has the world's second largest fleet. It is not one of the flags specifically targeted for inspection by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on port state control.

1 May 1996 : Column WA154

Rights of Audience: Law Society's Application

Lord Ackner asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (i) whether they are satisfied that the Lord Chancellor is complying with his statutory obligations under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and in particular paragraph 11(4) of Schedule 4, in view of the fact that in June 1995 he received the written advice of his Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct that the Law Society's application for authorisation to grant extended rights of audience in the High Court to employed solicitors be not approved; and yet the Lord Chancellor has not decided whether to accept or reject this advice; and

    (ii) whether this delay is justified and if so, on what grounds.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): I am satisfied that the Law Society's application is being dealt with in accordance with the procedure laid down in Schedule 4 to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.

It is only right that the application be given due thought and consideration and this, needless to say, takes time. This application raises difficult issues. My advisory committee found great difficulty in reaching a conclusion and, as my noble and learned friend will be aware, their advice to me was accompanied by a substantial dissenting opinion.

British Coal Land in Use for Sport and Recreation

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) what discussions have taken place between the Department of Trade and Industry and British Coal regarding the future of recreational sites in coalfield communities; and to what extent the Coal Industry Social Welfare and the National Playing Fields Associations have been involved; and (b) what guarantees of protection can be given to future owners of the sites regarding provisions for indemnity against historical contamination.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): My department has been engaged in detailed discussion with British Coal about the best means of achieving the Government's objective that British Coal land in active use for sport and recreation will be retained for those purposes. Both the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation and the National Playing Fields Association have participated actively in those discussions as prospective holders of the freeholds.

British Coal sought to address concerns about land contamination by careful consideration of the legal mechanism for any transfer of ownership, by commissioning environmental research and by giving those bodies the option of excluding particular sites.

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