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Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) whether unpaid special advisers who are appointed for less than a year are obliged to sign the Official Secrets Act in circumstances where advisers, both paid and unpaid, who are appointed for more than a year are obliged to do so; 
(3) how many unpaid special advisers who have been appointed for a term of less than a year there are in (a) his Department and (b) all Departments; 
(4) what the expense to (a) his Department and (b) all departments of appointing unpaid special advisers for less than a year was in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) in what way selection criteria applied to unpaid special advisers differ from those applicable to paid special advisers. 
Mr. Leslie: All special advisers, whether paid or unpaid and whatever the duration of their appointment, are employed under terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers and in accordance with paragraph 50 of the Ministerial Code. The rules on the selection and appointments of unpaid special advisers are the same as those for paid special advisers. All appointees are covered by the Official Secrets Act. I am not aware of any unpaid special advisers appointed for a period of less than a year.
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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will estimate the cost in the next 12 months of the Budget changes to employers' national insurance contributions to (a) her Department, (b) agencies of her Department and (c) local government carrying out functions within the responsibility of her Department. 
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations her Department has received from COSLA regarding the impact of (a) the aggregates levy and (b) the rise in employers' national insurance contributions on Scottish local authorities in 200203. 
Mr. Wills: Of the 487 representations received in response to the Auld report on criminal courts reform, a number of organisations including the Bar Council, the Law Society and private commentators have expressed concern about the report's recommendations that the defendant's automatic right to elect jury trial in either-way
16 May 2002 : Column 835W
cases should be abolished. As the Lord Chancellor has stated publicly, the Government are now considering the report's recommendations in detail, and hope to publish a White Paper announcing their conclusions before the summer recess. Responses from the general public and the main criminal justice stakeholders, subject to their agreement, are being placed on the Lord Chancellor's web site www.criminal-courts-review.org.uk
Mr. Cox: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) men and (b) women from ethnic minority backgrounds were selected for jury service at courts in Greater London during the last 12 months. 
Mr. Wills: We do not collect information on the gender or ethnicity of people summoned to be, or sitting as, jurors. One of the main reasons for this is that jury summoning and selection is random at each stage, and it should therefore reflect the gender and ethnic breakdown of those who are registered to vote. This should also reflect regional variations, as catchment areas are based on the locality to the court.
Mr. Wills: A comprehensive and exhaustive list of new and abolished offences could be provided only at disproportionate cost. We can however provide the following information about the following measures which have been enacted since 1 May 1997.
The Access to Justice Act 1999 created two offences: Misrepresentation in relation to Community Legal Service/Criminal Defence Service and Unauthorised disclosure of personal information supplied for enforcing warrants. The first offence replaces the similar offence in relation to legal aid under the Legal Aid Act 1988.
The European Communities (Lawyer's Practice) Regulations 2000 (SI 11192000) created an offence for a European lawyer to practise in England and Wales and Northern Ireland without registering with the relevant competent authority. This was a regulation made by the Lord Chancellor implementing a European directive.
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Mr. Wills: A civil servant in each Department has been designated as the contact point for human rights issues. I will send the right hon. Gentleman the full list of the 26 contact points for his information, although general inquiries on human rights issues should in the first instance continue to be sent to officials in my Department, which plays a co-ordinating role on the Human Rights Act.
Ross Cranston: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what the return rates (a) to and (b) from the UK under the Hague Child Abduction Convention were for each of the last two years for European signatories to the convention. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Lord Chancellor is the central authority for the operation of the convention for England and Wales only. The tables show the return rates to and from England and Wales, for each of the last two years for European signatories to the convention.
|Cases received during the year||88||96|
|Cases outstanding at end of the year||26||29|
|Cases where return of child achieved||40||38|
|Return rate (percentage)||64.5||56.7|
|Cases received during the year||139||155|
|Cases outstanding at end of the year||51||55|
|Cases where return of child achieved||57||58|
|Return rate (percentage)||64.8||58|
Tim Loughton: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, how many parents convicted of murder against a spouse have been deprived of parental rights over children in the last five years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not available. A key aim of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence is to improve the way the criminal and civil justice systems work together. The work of the group will include looking at whether, and if so how, information such as this could be obtained.
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