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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of paragraph 3 of Schedule 4 to the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (on the power to force entry to premises in order to execute warrants of distress issued under Section 76 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980) on the number of warrants successfully enforced and amounts recovered.[HL278]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The contracts held between Her Majesty's Court Service and private bailiff companies contain a specific protocol on the use of forced entry by private bailiffs. This protocol sets out the procedure that must be followed before any use of forced entry by private bailiffs. The procedure specifies the line of communication between the bailiff, their manager, and a nominated officer at the court that must take place before the use of forced entry is approved. This ensures that all relevant and current information regarding the defaulter can be considered before any action is taken.
As part of the contract monthly reporting requirements, private bailiff companies must report the use of forced entry powers to Her Majesty's Court Service. The contracts set out what information must be included by the bailiff companies.
The use of the search and entry powers by private bailiff companies has been minimal. There have been only been nine instances where forced entry has been used since the use of private bailiff contracts began in 2006, of which eight resulted in payments being made and a total of £7,696 taken in fines and bailiff fees by the bailiff companies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will revoke paragraph 3 of Schedule 4A to the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (inserted by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (on the right to force entry to premises in order to execute warrants of distress issued under Section 76 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980)) to restore the status of unpaid sums adjudged to be paid upon conviction as civil debts owed to the state to be enforced like other civil debts.[HL279]
Lord McNally: The Government intend to retain the forced entry powers contained in Schedule 4A to the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, inserted by Schedule 4 to the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. The powers contained in that schedule are key to successful enforcement which will ensure fines remain an effective and credible sentence. Therefore there are no plans to revoke.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering introducing supervised injectible heroin in combination with psychosocial support to vulnerable women with heroin addiction working in prostitution, as a means to reduce harm, in the light of clinical trials reported recently in the Lancet.[HL242]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Any approach that helps people get off drugs for good should be explored. The department will look at the evidence, including the recently published evidence in the Lancet, on the use of injectable medicinal heroin to treat entrenched heroin users.
Currently, a wide range of specialist drug treatment services are available and accessible in each of the 149 local authority areas in England, for everyone who needs help for drug problems, including sex workers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of progress towards Rwanda's presidential elections in August; and how much financial and logistical assistance they are providing for those elections.[HL260]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We feel that Rwanda has made progress in developing the necessary institutions to take forward the democratic process. We are working closely with the Rwandan National Election Commission (NEC) and monitoring preparations for the 2010 presidential elections. We have encouraged the NEC to implement fully the recommendations made by the EU Election Observer Mission in 2008. The Government of Rwanda have invited international election observers, including from the Commonwealth, the EU and the African Union.
The UK, through the Department for International Development (DfID), is providing the NEC with £3 million assistance in support of its strategic plan for 2008-12. This includes logistical IT support, covering voter registration, results management, and administration of election materials. The UK, through DfID, provided a total of £52 million in assistance to Rwanda in the financial year 2009-10.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have issued guidance on article 5(1) of the Enforcement of Road Traffic Debts Order 1993 (SI 1993/2073) on the information that should appear on the warrant
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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): No guidance has been issued. The warrant of execution would not contain the same information as that appearing on a writ of fieri facias as although they are similar in nature they relate to different types of debts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to bring European Union regulations within the purview of the review of regulation being undertaken by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.[HL255]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The fundamental review of regulation scheduled for introduction over the coming year, initiated by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, will also encompass European Union regulation contained within the forward regulatory programme, published in March 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the contribution of algorithmic or high frequency trading of equities to liquidity or its effect as a potential source of systemic risk. [HL267]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The implications of high frequency trading for equity markets are currently being assessed by the Financial Services Authority, including in the context of the Committee of European Securities Regulators' contribution to the European Commission's upcoming review of the markets in financial instruments directive.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency intends to take to ensure that herbal practitioners may still commission the manufacture of unlicensed herbal medicines after April 2011. [HL321]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Under the European medicines legislative framework manufactured medicines placed on the market require an appropriate product licence. Directive 2004/24/EC had the effect of confirming that this requirement applied fully to herbal medicines once the transitional period under the directive expires on 30 April 2011. For these products, either a marketing authorisation or a traditional herbal registration will be required.
The option exists for European Union member states to create regulatory arrangements under Article 5.1 of directive 2001/83/EC for those designated as authorised healthcare professionals to commission an unlicensed manufactured medicine to meet the special needs of an individual patient on the professional responsibility of the clinician. However, herbal practitioners are currently not subject to systematic professional regulation. In 2009, the department, along with devolved health departments, consulted on the regulation of practitioners of herbal medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Once we have considered the consultation responses we will make clear how we intend to proceed, including as to the possibility of creating a scheme under Article 5.1 for herbal practitioners.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 19 January (WA 237), on what dates correspondence was exchanged between the blood policy team in the Department of Health and the Blood and Tissue Policy Unit in the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health and Children; and whether they will place that correspondence in the Library of the House.[HL269]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The blood policy team in the department and the Blood and Tissue Policy Unit in the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health and Children keep in regular contact on a number of matters to ensure the accuracy of policy statements made by each of relevance to the other. Some of these communications, which relate to matters in the public domain, will be placed in the Library of the House by the end of the month. Confidential information obtained from another state related to the development of that Government's policy will not be made public.
To ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the answers by Earl Howe on 2 June (Official Report, cols. 247-8), whether officials in the Department of Health have met officials in the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health and Children to discuss compensation for those infected with contaminated blood since the judgment of the High Court in March v Secretary of State for Health; if
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Earl Howe: Officials in the department have not met officials in the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health and Children to discuss compensation for those infected with contaminated blood since the judgment of the High Court in March v Secretary of State for Health.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider terminating and recovering all funds paid which were the subject of the grant offer issued on 17 December 2009 to Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) by the Director of Communications, Content Industries Directorate, at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills addressed to Mr Malcom Corbett, Chief Executive, Independent Networks Co-operative Association, although he was acting chief executive officer until the first meeting of the INCA Ltd interim board on 20 January 2010.[HL245]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Indonesia about that government's payments to Aceh under the oil and gas sharing agreement, and about whether the payments are independently audited.[HL316]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): No representations have been made by the Government to the Government of Indonesia on the Aceh oil and gas sharing agreement.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The conditions under which the International Criminal Court may exercise its jurisdiction and states may refer a situation are set out in the Rome statute under Articles 13 and 14. The referral of a situation in a non-state party is possible under Article 13(b) when the situation has been referred by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN charter.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Legal Services Commission (LSC) currently has 2,677 offices in England and Wales contracted to do family work. In addition, specialist family telephone advice has been available through the community legal advice telephone service since August 2009.
The table below sets out the numbers of offices contracted to do civil and criminal work since 2000. Although the numbers of offices have decreased since 2000, many of the providers have merged to provide services, or undertook only a small amount of legal aid work, which has since been taken up by others. In 2008-09 the LSC funded 1.3 million civil and family acts of assistance, including a record of over 1 million legal help acts of assistance via face-to-face services and telephone advice.
|Number of Offices holding Civil and Criminal Contracts|
|At end March||Civil||Criminal|
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