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Lord Mackay of Clashfern: My Lords, we have certainly had a full debate, punctured only by a Statement of no doubt considerable importance. It did not extend our time beyond midnight, which the Chief Whip, with his usual skill, had managed to forecast.
On behalf of the Select Committee and myself I thank all noble Lords who have said they are grateful to us. We did our best to provide a basis for today's debate and the quality of the contributions that have been made have justified our feeling that we have succeeded in doing so. It is not my function at this stage to deal with criticisms of the committee's report, such as we omitted this, that or the next thing. Obviously there is nothing we can do about that
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nowwe have finishedand it will be for those who wish to take up these issues to consider what, if anything, they should do about them.
In closing, I should say that all members of the committee were appreciative of what the Government have done. We had very clear evidence from officials from the Department of Health, including medical professionals, about the efforts being made to improve palliative care. We were very appreciative of that and believe that the Government have made a very useful improvement in that area. From what the noble Lord, Lord Warner, said, it looks as though we can anticipate more of the same. As a neutral I do not want to say anything about what other parties may have hadthat was a slight deviation from the neutrality of the noble Lord, Lord Warnerand I do not seek in
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any way to deal with that. But we were appreciative. Palliative care is very importantwe all realise thatand we await whatever happens in the future.
Many points have been made by your Lordships and I am sure that when the noble Lord, Lord Joffe, is considering what he will do next he will take time to consider what your Lordships have said and to see whether he can provide a perfect example for answering all the difficulties.
I very much thank all noble Lords. I do not think the Motion requires to be withdrawn because I did not ask for Papers. I asked that your Lordships should take note, and you have done that very fully indeed.
House adjourned at eleven minutes before midnight.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Department for Constitutional Affairs has published a consultation paper, which sets out proposals for increases to certain civil and family court fees. The purpose of the consultation is to identify whether the package of proposed increases is the most apt to meet the need to increase fee income and to cover costs and seek views on whether a particular increase in an individual fee might have specific untoward consequences.
Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and can also be obtained free on the department's website at the following web address: www.dca.gov.uk/consult/civilfam/civilfam.htm.
The paper New Regulation for CFAs: A summary of responses to the consultation paper "Making Simple CFAs a Reality"DCA's conclusions and new regulations sets out the department's conclusions on the simplification of the CFAs and related secondary legislation. The paper includes drafts of the regulations (which have now been laid as the the Conditional Fee Agreements (Revocation) Regulations 2005 and the Access to Justice (Membership Organisation) Regulations 2005), which revoke the current secondary legislation governing CFAs, collective conditional fee agreement regulations (CCFA) and a new set of simplified membership organisation regulations. These regulations will be laid before Parliament separately.
The current CFA regulations are unnecessarily complex and opaque and duplicate regulation already performed by the Law Society. Removing unnecessary regulation will apply to all CFAs which are used across a range of civil cases and will put into place the Government's commitment to introduce better regulation and strip out unnecessary legislation.
The existing CFA and CCFA regulations will be revoked and the new simplified membership organisation regulations will be introduced from 1 November 2005. The primary legislation (Section 27 of the Access to Justice Act 1999) will provide the minimum government legislative framework needed
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for the use of CFAs by legal representatives. Primary responsibility for client care will be focused on solicitors through the Law Society's regulation. The DCA has been working closely with the Law Society on improvements to its guidance and rules and the Law Society plans to amend its rules and publish new CFA model agreements to coincide with the changes to regulations.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): I have arranged for copies of the Council of Europe's third summit declaration and action plan to be placed in the Library of the House.
At the summit, heads of state and government adopted a declaration and action plan focusing the future work of the Council of Europe on its core areas of promoting and protecting human rights, rule of law and pluralist democracy.
Lord Triesman: The Government have decided to nominate four replacement UK members of the EU Committee of the Regions, to fill vacancies which had arisen in the UK delegation. The new members are: Councillor Sharon Taylor (East of England Regional Assembly); Councillor Dave Quayle (North West Regional Assembly); Councillor W J Williams (Isle of Anglesey County Council); and Councillor David Parsons (Leicestershire County Council and East Midlands Regional Assembly). In accordance with the established procedure, all the nominations have been approved by the Council.
The Government made the nominations following the usual consultation process with local and regional government. It has paid particular attention to maintaining the appropriate regional, political, gender and ethnic balance of the UK delegation. This balance is not affected by the nominations.
The Committee of the Regions was established by the Maastricht Treaty, as a consultative body with limited powers to give non-binding opinions on EU draft legislation. The UK delegation comprises 24 full members and 24 alternates.
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progress and opportunities for better regulation, where the chairs of the three Lamfalussy committees of experts will report to ECOFIN for the first time, including on their role in promoting better regulation and making supervision in the financial services industry more proportionate and effective;
EU-US economic relationship, where ECOFIN will consider a joint paper from the UK, Austrian and Finnish presidencies, which identifies the potential benefits of closer transatlantic economic co-operation; and
economic regeneration of the West Bank and Gaza region, where Commissioner Almunia and EIB President Maystadt will give an oral report on progress in projects to support regeneration in the West Bank and Gaza.
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