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Mental Capacity: Lasting Powers of Attorney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Department for Constitutional Affairs will publish a consultation paper on the forms and guidance to be used when making a lasting power of attorney tomorrow. The Act provides a statutory framework to empower people to make decisions for themselves as far as possible and protect vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions. It enables people to plan ahead for a time when they may lack capacity. A key element of this is the new lasting power of attorney
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(LPA). The department is seeking views on the content of the prescribed forms, the prescribed information and the draft guidance to accompany the forms. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Justice Oversight Commissioner

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Peter Hain) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government have received and welcomed the fifth report from the Justice Oversight Commissioner, the right honourable Lord Clyde, on the progress achieved in implementing the recommendations of the review of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. Consistent with his terms of reference, the report was submitted to the Attorney-General and as in the Secretary of State's Statement.

Lord Clyde concludes that the past six months have been a period of consolidation and general steady progress. He acknowledges that progress has continued on a number of fronts with some important developments including: the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on co-operation on criminal justice matters; the bringing of 17 year-olds within the ambit of the youth court; the introduction of a criminal justice module as part of the post-primary-school citizenship agenda; and the launch of the Probation Board's victims' information scheme. He concludes that the implementation of the recommendations is now generally far advanced. The Government warmly endorse these conclusions.

Copies of the commissioner's report have been placed in the Library.

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