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Justice: No-win No-Fee Arrangements

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Bridget Prentice) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.



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I am announcing today the commencement of a feasibility and scoping study into the operation of no-win, no-fee arrangements in England and Wales.

We are aware of growing concerns that no-win, no-fee arrangements may not always operate in the interests of access to justice. This includes a perception that consumer interests are not always best served; allegations over the possible misuse of no-win, no-fee agreements and a potential adverse impact on the administration of justice. We feel that now is the appropriate time for a comprehensive, objective and evidence-based examination of the operation of no-win, no-fee arrangements in relation to personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy cases. This work forms an important part of one of the department’s key objectives: to deliver fair and simple routes to justice, including identifying any gaps in access to justice in the above areas.

We recognise that the issues at hand are complex and varied and their consideration could potentially be a large-scale exercise. Therefore as a preliminary step, the department has asked Professors Richard Moorhead (Director of Research, Cardiff Law School), Paul Fenn (Nottingham University Business School) and Neil Rickman (Head of Economics, University of Surrey and RAND Europe) to conduct a research-based review of how conditional fee arrangements operate in personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy cases. Today I am announcing the commencement of the scoping work, the purpose of which is to highlight the key issues and identify areas that would benefit from further work.

The study will consider how best to:

identify representative samples of claims data in personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy cases; examine the nature of funding arrangements in these cases and the outcome; identify random samples of clients and legal advisers that may help provide more detailed data about the understanding of quality and change within the legal services sector; and analyse the unmet legal needs in the areas of personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy.

Professors Moorhead, Fenn and Rickman are expected to report to Ministers in the autumn. The report will help determine what specific aspects ought to be pursued in more detail and the feasibility of doing so.

Ministry of Defence: Data Loss

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 21 January 2008 (Official Report, col. 1225-37) and 7 February 2008 (Official Report, col. 78WS) I informed the House about the theft of laptop computers containing a database with personal records relating to individuals who had expressed interest in joining the Armed Forces, and that I had invited Sir Edmund

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Burton to conduct a full investigation into: the circumstances that led to the MoD’s loss of this personal data; the effectiveness of the immediate measures we introduced to prevent any recurrence; and the adequacy of the department’s policy, practice and management arrangements for the protection of personal data more generally.

Sir Edmund has reported, and I have placed a copy of his report in the Library of the House and published it on the department’s website at: www.mod.uk. I am very grateful for the effort that Sir Edmund and his team have put into this review. The report is in two parts, with an executive summary. Part one sets out the events leading up to the loss of data on 9 January 2008, covering the relevant issues surrounding the training administration and financial management information system (TAFMIS) and the attendant policies and procedures. Part two considers the broader MoD approach to personal data protection, drawing on the emerging findings of the Cabinet Office review of data handling procedure in government, whose final report is also being published today. Further detail and a summary of Sir Edmund’s 51 recommendations are given in the annexes to the report. These have been published in full, although the names of those consulted have been redacted.

I accept all 51 of Sir Edmund’s recommendations, and am determined that we should learn the wider lessons to be drawn from this incident. At the direction of the Defence Board, an action plan has been prepared to implement the recommendations, and this is being published today also. The senior management of the MoD, in the form of the Defence Board, accepts that it has ultimate responsibility for the effectiveness of the department’s information management and assurance, and will supervise the implementation of the action plan.

The action plan has been shown to Sir Edmund, who has indicated that it has his support and is in his view capable of delivering the improvements in practice which his report concludes are necessary. Sir Edmund’s report, and the action plan including the immediate steps we have taken to bring the TAFMIS system into compliance with the Data Protection Act have also been shared with the Information Commissioner; we will keep his office apprised of progress.

On the TAFMIS recruitment system, Sir Edmund’s report has set out, to the extent that he has been able to establish the facts, the sequence of events that led to the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force version of the system being unencrypted. This confirms that efforts were made to encrypt the system through an encryption upgrade, and that this was successful for most of the system. However, in August 2006 the encryption on the 55 TAFMIS laptops containing the Royal Navy/Royal Air Force recruit database was reported not to be working as expected. Despite examining all the available papers and interviewing relevant personnel from the Army Recruiting and Training Division (ARTD), which manages the contract for the system on behalf of all three armed services, and the system provider, EDS, Sir Edmund has been unable to find an explanation of why encryption of these 55 was not pursued by another means, and those using the system came to believe that

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it was encrypted when it was not. His main conclusions are that aspects of the TAFMIS project were poorly managed both by the ARTD’s internal project manager and EDS; that for periods in 2006 and 2007 the laptops in question were being used in breach of MoD laptop encryption security policy; and that in certain key respects, detailed in the report, the TAFMIS system is still in breach of data protection regulations. His findings have confirmed my own suspicion that there was no robust business reason for so much personal data to be carried around by recruiting officers on their laptops. Action is already in hand to remedy this position.

After studying the report, the Chief of the General Staff has ordered an inquiry to investigate whether there are grounds to pursue either disciplinary or administrative action in respect of the management of the contract between the Army and EDS.

On the more general aspects of his review, Sir Edmund finds that departmental policies and procedures generally are fit for purpose and he gives some examples of good practice by the department—the role of the MoD’s senior information risk owner; the emergency measures introduced after the loss which have been effective in preventing similar damaging losses; the network of data protection officers; and the good security data protection and information risk management procedures of the organisations within the department for which handling of large volumes of personal data is core business—but he is highly critical of the department’s general treatment in practice of information, knowledge and data as key operational and business assets, and of low levels of awareness of the threats to information and of the requirements of data protection legislation. Therefore, his recommendations focus on training and steps to raise awareness and compliance, and to raise the profile of the issue within our various management boards.

Sir Edmund’s investigation and other internal inquiries have established more of the facts than were available when I made my Statement to the House on 21 January. Of the 600,000 recruits or potential recruits who were in the TAFMIS data base, about 1,000 dated back to 1977. In a substantial proportion of cases, the records included more limited information about next of kin and contact details for referees.

We have also established that, in addition to the three stolen TAFMIS laptop computers referred to in the Statement, a further two laptops similar to those stolen in January 2008 and October 2006 were stolen from cars: a Royal Navy laptop in Bristol in August 2004 and a Royal Air Force laptop in Leeds in July 2006. In both cases the laptops were believed at the time to have been encrypted, and Ministers were not informed of the losses. The personal data held on these laptops was a subset of that held on the laptop stolen on 9 January 2008 and so does not affect anyone not already affected by that incident.

Following the theft of the laptop on 9 January, the department conducted a full internal investigation into the details of computer and other electronic storage media lost or stolen since 2003 when mandatory reporting of such incidents was introduced. This investigation has now been completed and the collated

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data were provided to Sir Edmund Burton as part of his review. He has summarised key elements of the data in his report.

Prior to 2003 the reporting of lost and stolen laptops was not centrally collated and it has been found that the figures for the period 1995 to 2002 may be incomplete and therefore unreliable. As the details of incidents for this period are no longer available it is not possible to provide updated figures.

In conclusion, I reiterate my deep regret over both the losses of personal data and the systemic weaknesses within parts of the MoD that led to this situation. As the Cabinet Office report also published today highlights, these reflect challenges faced by all parts of government but that does not make them any more acceptable. Both I and senior MoD management are determined to act quickly and decisively on Sir Edmund’s recommendations and bring about an early significant improvement in practice within the department in this important area.

Sentencing Guidelines Council

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Jack Straw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Sentencing Guidelines Council has today published its annual report, jointly with the Sentencing Advisory Panel, giving details of the excellent work it has achieved during the past year and outlining its work plans for the next 12 months. Copies of the annual report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

Taxation: Double Taxation

Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jane Kennedy) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A new double taxation convention with France was signed on 19 June 2008. After signature, the text of the convention was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on the HM Revenue and Customs website. The text of the convention will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

Zimbabwe: Sporting Relations

Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Andy Burnham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I want to update the House today on the action Her Majesty’s Government are taking in relation to the proposed bilateral tour of the Zimbabwean cricket team to England in 2009.

The Government have been monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe closely. I hope you will appreciate that we have delayed intervening in this matter and allowed

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time for the situation to improve. However, the deteriorating situation around the failed and illegitimate elections in Zimbabwe and the imminence of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) annual conference in Dubai mean that the point of decision on this matter has now been reached. We have been in close discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) throughout recent months.

The Zimbabwean Government have ceased to observe the principle of the rule of law: they have terrorised their own citizens, including the ruthless and violent suppression of legitimate political opposition.

The UK Government will always work with the international community to uphold fundamental freedoms and human rights. Accordingly, they have responded with a measured approach which seeks to isolate Zimbabwe internationally and bring pressure to bear on supranational institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union to take yet firmer action against the despotic regime, whilst ensuring that their humanitarian life-saving mission to Zimbabwean citizens continues.

The Government are clear that direct intervention on a sporting matter should not be taken lightly, and our position has been to intervene in this matter only as a last resort.

The Government have previously called on the ICC to reconsider its rules to allow teams to forfeit tours to countries, such as Zimbabwe, where serious human rights abuses are occurring. Unfortunately the ICC has declined to do so. However, with the ICC conference due to take place in Dubai next week, the Government now have to make their position clear.

The Government strongly defend the autonomy of sports governing bodies. We also support the autonomous management of international sporting competitions by international sports federations and independent representation of British sporting interests on such federations by our national governing bodies. The serious human rights abuses occurring in Zimbabwe and the close ties of the Zimbabwe cricket team to the Mugabe regime present exceptional circumstances that justify exceptional measures. It would never be our wish to penalise domestic supporters, and nor would we wish to place players particularly in the uncomfortable position of having to take difficult individual judgments on these matters.

Therefore, it is with regret that Her Majesty’s Government have decided to make clear that they are prepared to prevent the bilateral tour in 2009 and will take all necessary steps to prevent players from Zimbabwe from participating in that tour.

I have today written to Giles Clarke, the chairman of the ECB, instructing the ECB not to hold the bilateral tour with Zimbabwe. The Government welcome reports that the issue of Zimbabwe’s involvement in world cricket is on the agenda at the ICC annual conference next week in Dubai. We hope that this letter will help the ECB to play a full part in these discussions, and lead to a positive outcome, particularly in relation to the important event, ICC’s world twenty20 tournament, due to be staged in England in 2009. A copy of this letter is attached to this Statement.



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We hope that there will not be a need to repeat this exceptional measure and we will continue to work with the international community to allow full sporting relations to be restored. The Government will continue to monitor closely the situation in Zimbabwe and remain prepared to reconsider their position should circumstances in Zimbabwe materially improve.

Letter from Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to Giles Clarke, Chairman, English and Wales Cricket Board, dated 25 June 2008.

I write to set out the Government’s views on the proposed bilateral tour of the Zimbabwean cricket team to England in 2009.

You will be aware of our grave concerns about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. In these circumstances, the Government have concluded that it would not be right to allow the proposed tour by the Zimbabwe cricket (ZC) team in 2009 to take place.

The Government have been monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe closely. I hope you will appreciate that we have delayed intervening in this matter and allowed time for the situation to improve. However, the deteriorating situation around the failed and illegitimate elections in Zimbabwe, and the imminence of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) annual conference in Dubai, means that the point of decision on this matter has now been reached.

The Zimbabwean Government have ceased to observe the principle of the rule of law they have terrorised their own citizens, including the ruthless and violent suppression of legitimate political opposition.

The UK Government will always work with the international community to uphold fundamental freedoms and human rights. Accordingly, the UK Government have responded with a measured approach which seeks to isolate Zimbabwe internationally and bring pressure to bear on supranational institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union to take yet firmer action against the despotic regime, whilst ensuring that their humanitarian life-saving mission to Zimbabwean citizens continues.



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The UK Government consider that it would be contrary to this general approach for the English cricket team to participate in bilateral fixtures with Zimbabwe. The close ties of the Zimbabwe cricket team to the Mugabe regime have also had a bearing on our decision.

I can assure you that this is not a decision we have taken lightly. The Government strongly defend the autonomy of our sports governing bodies. We also support the autonomous management of international sporting competitions by international sports federations and independent representation of British sporting interests on such federations by our national governing bodies. This decision on Zimbabwe does not alter that general position but is made in response to the exceptional circumstances in this case. It would never be our wish to penalise domestic supporters, and nor would we wish to place players particularly in the uncomfortable position of having to take difficult individual judgments on these matters.

The Government have previously called on the ICC to reconsider its rules to allow teams to forfeit tours to countries, such as Zimbabwe, where serious human rights abuses are occurring. Unfortunately the ICC has declined to do so. Therefore, the Government have decided to make clear that they are prepared to prevent the bilateral tour in 2009 and will take all necessary steps to prevent players from Zimbabwe from participating in that tour.

The Government welcome reports that the issue of Zimbabwe’s involvement in world cricket is on the agenda at the ICC annual conference which is taking place next week in Dubai. We hope that this letter will help ECB play a full part in these discussions, and lead to a positive outcome particularly in relation to the important event, ICC’s world twenty20 tournament, due to be staged in England in 2009.

I trust that this letter sets out clearly the position of Her Majesty’s Government. It is not a letter I take any pleasure in sending, nor one that I would wish to repeat. However, in these exceptional circumstances, I hope the reasons for it will be understood in the wider cricketing world.


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