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Lord Ackner: My Lords, it is a feature of every system of administration of justice that there should be rights of appeal. In our system, unlike many continental systems, we have both absolute rights of appeal and discretionary rights of appeal. The discretionary right of appeal usually makes provision for some filter system in order to ensure that the right of appeal is not abused. Leave is required from the trial judge or, if he fails to
Earl Russell: My Lords, my noble friend has spoken for me entirely, as has indeed the noble and learned Lord, whose intervention I very much appreciated. I wish to add two pieces of evidence on the narrow point and one on the wider point. The first concerns a survey of 722 appeal cases between July and December 1995, cases heard by special adjudicators. Even of those cases dismissed, only 16 per cent. were seen as totally incredible. Only a small number of the unsuccessful cases are manifestly unfounded. The second quotation should be familiar to the Minister because he spoke the words himself as recently as 19th June on the Housing Bill. I asked him whether he was able to predict whose appeals would succeed. The Minister said:
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, perhaps I should first say to the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, that I am grateful to her for her remarks to my noble friend and myself about our patience. I hope that by showing that I am demonstrating that I appreciate the seriousness of the issues which we are discussing and, indeed, the seriousness with which the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, and other noble Lords opposite address this issue. Therefore, I accept that plaudit with courtesy and I return it. I understand how deeply she feels about this issue. In fact, the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, told me yesterday in the clearest possible terms that her party would repeal the whole of this Bill and therefore would be quite happy to accept the expenditure of £200 million for this year and next year, perhaps rising to £300 million in the following year. I accept that there is a difference between us. As a Minister for social security and as a Treasury spokesman, I must try to contain the amount of money which my department spends and therefore which must be taken from the British taxpayer.
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I do not think that I should become involved in a discussion about that. But certainly the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, has made her position quite clear and I am quite clear as to where she stands. I must say that the position is not quite as clear in relation to the party
Lord Avebury: My Lords, will the Minister agree that, as in the case he mentioned earlier where the adjudicator referred the matter back to the Secretary of State who then granted exceptional leave to remain, it is the Secretary of State and not the courts who determines the application?
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, the point is that the adjudicator will have decided that the applicant does not fulfil the criteria for refugee status. If the noble Lord wishes to close the door at that point, so be it. However, I do not believe that he does, and neither do I. In those circumstances the adjudicator can suggest that the Secretary of State ought further to consider the case before a final conclusion is reached. At that point the Secretary of State may decide, in a very few cases after the appeals circuit has been gone through, that exceptional leave to remain should be granted. The majority of cases for ELR are decided by the Home Office in the initial decision-making process when it is decided that a person does not qualify as a refugee. Then, as I said during the last debate, the second question is asked; namely, "Can this person go back to his own country?". In the case of somewhere
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