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Asylum Seekers: Return Procedures

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Asylum seekers whose claims have been considered and rejected in the United Kingdom are normally returned to their country of origin directly and not through the territory of other states. Asylum seekers whose claims have been refused without substantive consideration in the United Kingdom may only be returned to other member states where it can be shown that the member state concerned is responsible according to the provisions of the Dublin Convention. We are in frequent discussion with our European partners with a view to developing and improving the procedures for the return of asylum seekers.

Immigration and Asylum Policies: EC Communication

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government made no direct response. However, at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 20 June 1994, the Council of Ministers approved a number of Conclusions relating to the Commission's Communication. Subsequent work programmes in the immigration and asylum field have reflected the subjects covered by the Communication.

The conclusions are:

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    its meeting on 23 March 1994, the preparatory bodies of the Justice and Home Affairs Council;

    recalls the exchange of views at the informal meeting of the Ministers for Internal Affairs in Thessaloniki on 6 and 7 May 1994;

    reiterates the importance it attaches to the action plan and the priority work programme for 1994 which were adopted at the end of 1993;

    calls upon the competent bodies to examine, at the time of preparation of a new work programme, the desirability of including in its topics in that Communication which come under Title 1 of the European Union but which are not included in the priority work programme for 1994".

Life Sentence Tariff Recommendation

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the tariff of a minimum 20 years' detention, which qualified the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon a man recently convicted of imprisoning, torturing, blinding and eventually murdering a 17-year old girl, adequately satisfied the requirements of retribution and deterrence.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Secretary of State has not yet set a tariff--the period which must be served by a mandatory life-sentence prisoner to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence--in this case. The period referred to in the question is the minimum recommendation of 20 years made by the trial judge in passing a sentence of life imprisonment. When the Secretary of State sets the tariff, he will consider carefully the trial judge's description of the circumstances of the murder, his and the Lord Chief Justice's recommendations on tariff and any representations submitted by the prisoner. The Secretary of State attaches considerable weight to the judicial recommendations on tariff in mandatory life-sentence cases but is not bound by them and may set tariffs lower or higher than those recommended.

Immigration Rules: New Concession

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 19 November (WA 79) concerning the right to nominate persons for admission for settlement in the United Kingdom, to which categories of persons who are legally unable to marry their partners the concession announced on 10 October applies.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The concession applies to those who have a relationship akin to marriage with a person who is present and settled in the United Kingdom (or is here in a category leading to settlement or who has been granted asylum), who are legally unable to marry (other than by reasons of consanguineous relationships or age), who have been living together in a stable relationship for four years and

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intend to continue to do so permanently and who can maintain and accommodate themselves adequately without recourse to public funds. Any previous marriage (or similar relationship) by either partner must have permanently broken down.

Restricted Patients: Transfer from Prison to Hospital

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many mentally disordered prisoners were transferred from prison to hospital under each of the relevant sections of the Mental Health Act 1983, in each year from 1982 to 1996.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information on the number of restricted patients transferred from prison to hospital under Sections 47/49 and Sections 48/49 of the Mental Health Act 1983 is collected by my department:

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Patients transferred after sentence (Section 47/49)Patients transferred before sentence (Section 48/49)

(1) The provisions of the 1983 Act were implemented on

30 September 1983. Restricted patients transferred to hospital in 1982 and some of those transferred in 1983 were transferred under Sections 72/74 (after sentence) and 73/74 (before sentence) of the Mental Health Act 1959.

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