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The Earl of Onslow: My Lords, I hope that the noble Baroness can help us a little. It appears that the administration in Baghdad is all over the place. One cannot have a mayor who is here today and gone tomorrow. The rumours that Jay Garner is going to be replaced by somebody else does not look like joined-up government.

Can the Minister give us an undertaking that the Americans really are thinking about joined-up government, given that this is an imperial situation, faute de mieux? We cannot get round that. If we are going to do imperialism, let us do it properly.

Secondly, it is essential, as the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, said, to have a proper police force. What steps are being taken to raise, recruit and officer a proper new Iraqi police force? We could surely get assistance from the Pakistanis and the Arabs. There are lots of people other than PC Plod from Scunthorpe who could go and do it. We need a proper police force that can be new and separate from the old police force. That is the first essence of governing a country—that its citizens can go from A to B without being kiboshed, ambushed, or anything else. Police force, police force, police force—what steps are being taken towards that?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, the noble Earl struck an interesting note when he said that if we were going to do imperialism we should do it properly. Rather than spend a happy moment or two debating that point, which I am sure we shall have an interesting time discussing later, let me put him straight on a couple of points.

The fact is that Jay Garner is not being replaced. As I understand it, he remains at the head of ORHA, and therefore at the head of the organisation dealing with reconstruction. His role is mirrored by Zalmay Khalilzad, who is looking at the political side. The Americans have brought the two together under the lead of ambassador Bremer who, as I told the noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford, will report directly to Mr Rumsfeld in the Pentagon. Nobody has been dismissed, got rid of or put on one side. Nobody is here today and gone tomorrow—or whatever phraseology pleases the noble Earl, Lord Onslow. That is not what has happened. A more senior figure has been brought in to co-ordinate the reconstruction and political side of American activity.

I agree with the noble Earl that the issue of the police force is enormously important. I think that the points made by the noble Baroness were well taken. When we discussed the issue before, I was able to report to your Lordships that some of the Iraqi police force are

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returning to their posts. I hear what the noble Earl says—that he does not think that that is quite what is needed and that he wants to start all over gain. However, I think that it is actually rather important to use indigenous police where they can be trusted. It is enormously important not simply to put in outsiders, but to use those parts of the police force who are willing to work for a new order in Iraq.

The 40 people from around Whitehall whom we have sent into Baghdad have a whole range of expertise. They have not all come out of DfID or the Foreign Office. What we have sought from right across Whitehall is real expertise in the areas that we think need particular attention in the Iraqi administration, particularly in Baghdad.

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton: My Lords, may I ask my noble friend to elaborate a little further on one aspect of the draft resolution, the text of which has very kindly been provided for us in the Printed Paper Office? When she spoke on the central commercial and, indeed, legal issue of the moment—namely, who is to make title to Iraqi oil when sales recommence—she referred to paragraph 9 of the draft resolution. As I understand it, that refers to the role of the interim Iraqi authority in administration. The question of who can make title is, of course, not a question of administration; it is now a delicate matter of international and domestic law.

Can my noble friend tell us what the draft resolution means as it stands at the moment? Paragraph 18 refers to the,

    "export sales of petroleum . . . and natural gas",

which will be,

    "consistent with prevailing international market practices".

As I understand it, that is as far as it goes. Do the Government envisage that the resolution should be a little more specific about what those "market practices" would entail in terms of who can make title on the market? That is doubly important for us in view of paragraph 20, with which—unless I missed it; I apologise if I did—I do not think my noble friend dealt. In substance, paragraph 20 states that all member states are to take steps to amend their domestic legal systems.

Baroness Crawley: My Lords, I apologise for interrupting the noble Lord, but we are nearly out of time.

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton: My Lords, I am very sorry if we are out of time, but it seems vital that we have further information on this matter. We are to amend our legal system in all respects necessary to ensure that the sales of petroleum products and natural gas products originating in Iraq, and the proceeds of sale thereof, are,

    "immune from judicial, administrative, arbitration or any other proceedings (including . . . attachment, garnishment, or execution or other action".

The Government must have some idea of what changes in our law, both statutory and at common law, that would need. So can my noble friend say more on those

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changes which the Government now see as necessary? If not, what amendment will the Government make to paragraph 20? If none, who can make title to Iraqi oil?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, if I may, I shall be as brief as I can on this. I think that the noble Lord will find that part of the answer to his question is in paragraph 13 of my right honourable friend's Statement, which refers to "the lifting of sanctions" and, crucially,

    "the creation of a new Iraq Assistance Fund to target resources on the reconstruction of Iraq".

The authority has passed to that new assistance fund. If the noble Lord looks at paragraphs 17 and 18 of the draft resolution, I think he will find more information on the role of the Iraqi assistance fund in providing for the urgent needs of the Iraqi people.

Courts Bill [HL]

5.4 p.m.

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed on Clause 87.

Lord Hunt of Wirral moved Amendment No. 145:

    Page 42, line 8, at end insert—

"( ) An order under subsection (1) above shall not be made until a draft has been laid before both Houses of Parliament and approved by resolution of each House."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I hope that the Minister can reassure me that there is a provision somewhere which I may well have missed. When the Lord Chancellor, under Clause 87, prescribes fees payable in respect of anything dealt with by the courts listed, will his order come before this House and another place? The current arrangement is that, before a fee change, the usual statutory instrument is laid before the House. Indeed, such instruments are currently available in the Printed Paper Office in respect of the latest increase. That has been done under the old procedure, involving the 12 per cent increase to which I believe the Minister referred in an earlier debate. She acknowledged that that increase is the first for a while. She explained the position, and as a result I have not sought to pray against those statutory instruments which have been through all the normal procedures. Amendment No. 145 seeks to clarify how the new procedure provided for in Clause 87 will operate. I beg to move.

Lord Renton: My Lords, I warmly support this amendment. It seems to me to be absolutely fundamental. To the extent that Parliament is the sovereign body laying down the foundations of our system of justice, if an important order such as that to which the amendment refers—prescribing that the Lord Chancellor,

    "may with the consent of the Treasury by order prescribe fees payable",

in the Supreme Court, the county courts and the magistrates' courts—is not laid before and approved by both Houses of Parliament, it would mean that

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Parliament has surrendered the power that it should have to approve the whole system of charging people under our system of justice. I really do hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, will find this a sympathetic and useful amendment.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I thank both noble Lords who spoke to the amendment. I hope that I can clarify exactly what we intend and give the noble Lord a full answer.

The effect of the amendment would be to make Clause 87 subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. Previously, over the past 125 years, in none of the three Acts of the Supreme Court—Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1875, the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925 and the Supreme Court Act 1981—and four Acts on county courts (the County Courts Acts of 1888, 1934, 1959 and 1984) has Parliament decided that it was necessary for instruments setting court fees to be subject to the negative or the affirmative resolution procedure. As such, the convention adopted by both Houses of Parliament in respect of fees orders issued under these current powers, is that they are laid before Parliament and are not subject to affirmative or negative resolution. The current draft of Clause 98 maintains that convention.

While the Government already consult widely on proposed fees orders, Clause 87 introduces a specific statutory requirement for wider consultation with the heads of division and, for the first time, the head and deputy head of civil justice and, for civil proceedings, the Civil Justice Council—which I believe the noble Lord has already rightly praised today. This, therefore, provides for much wider consultation than is currently required.

The Lord Chancellor has also carefully considered the views of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform and the points made in particular by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, at Second Reading and considers that it would be appropriate for this clause also to be subject to the negative resolution procedure. That will be introduced by way of a government amendment which will be considered later in this debate.

That would provide for the first time for parliamentary scrutiny of fees orders and would bring the new power in line with other of the Lord Chancellor's powers to set fees; for example, fees charged by the Court of Protection under Section 106(5) of the Mental Health Act 1983. My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor is satisfied that this will provide an effective oversight of court fees. I therefore invite the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

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