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When a case is referred to Court, the amount of the fine is based not only on the nature of the offence and
mitigation presented, but also on the Defendant's ability to pay. The Court will establish the latter by way of the Statement of Means which is a questionnaire designed to clarify the Defendant's income and outgoings.
Claire Ward: The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 was implemented in November 2008 providing greater protection for those at risk, preventing forced marriage and enabling courts to make forced marriage protection orders (FMPOs). These are civil provisions. There is not a separate Forced Marriage Act 2008.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) with reference to the Land Registry Annual Report 2007-08, what criteria the Land Registry applies in respect of the level of fees it charges for adjudication hearings; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Wills: The Adjudicator to HM Land Registry is a judicial office within the Tribunal Service and is independent of the Land Registry, with specific powers to determine disputes referred under section 73(7) of the Land Registration Act 2002. The Land Registry must refer cases to the Adjudicator when there is a disputed application which cannot be resolved by agreement between the parties concerned. Applications may also be made directly to the Adjudicator for correcting or setting aside a document relating to registered land, and he hears appeals in relation to network access agreements.
The Land Registry does not charge a fee when a matter is referred to the Adjudicator and has not received any fees for adjudication hearings. The Land Registration Act 2002 gives the Lord Chancellor power to prescribe fees for proceedings before the Adjudicator; that power has not been exercised and the services are currently free of charge. The Adjudicator is able to make orders for costs in relation to proceedings before him, unless the parties concerned have agreed who should pay.
Mr. Wills: All adjudication hearings are held by the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry, which is an independent office created by the Land Registration Act 2002. The Land Registry has therefore made reference to the Adjudicator to provide the data requested. The number of hearings in each of the last four financial years was as follows:
|Number of adjudication hearings|
Bridget Prentice: We published a consultation paper "Defamation and the Internet: the multiple publication rule" on 16 September 2009. This consultation seeks views on the effect of the multiple publication rule (which provides that each publication of defamatory material can form the basis of a new cause of action) in relation to online archives and will close on 16 December 2009.
The Government will consider other issues in relation to the law of libel in the light of any recommendations that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee may wish to make in its forthcoming report on its inquiry into Press Standards, Privacy and Libel.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the Government (1) received representations from the US administration at the time of his decision to alter the terms of the proposed UK-Libya Prisoner Transfer Agreement so that it did not exclude the case of Mr al-Megrahi; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) informed the US administration at the time of its decision to alter the terms of the proposed UK-Libya Prisoner Transfer Agreement so that it did not exclude the case of Mr al-Megrahi; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: Throughout the negotiations on the prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) between the United Kingdom and Libya the US Government were kept informed of developments. The United States Government maintained their view that Mr. Al-Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland.
It was always the position of the UK Government that excluding Mr. Megrahi from the terms of the treaty was not necessary. The PTA did not confer a right to transfer on prisoners. Transfer could only take place if both Governments concerned agreed. In the event that Mr. Megrahi's application under the PTA was refused by the Scottish Executive.
Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many contracts let by his Department were awarded to businesses with fewer than 50 employees in each of the last five years; and what the monetary value of such contracts was in each such year. 
Mr. Wills: At present information relating to the size (number of people) and status of businesses is not captured as standard practice when contracts are awarded to suppliers. Therefore, the requested information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|2009-10 Departmental expenditure limits|
Since the creation of the new NOMS agency in 2008, there is no longer a natural separation of budgets and expenditure between HQ and other services and the methodology used for the above classification has proved difficult to maintain. It is intended to propose an amendment to this classification in a Supplementary Estimate to make "HQ" synonymous with the "Administration" classification also used in the Estimates. Taking into account this proposed amendment, the NOMS resource budget can be broken down over the following more detailed headings:
Maria Eagle: The allocation of the 2010-11 resource budget for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is not yet finalised. The Main Estimates, which will provide the funding for the three funding streams of NOMS HQ, Operations and Probation boards, are expected to be laid before Parliament in the spring of 2010.
Mr. Wills: Section 21 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 will introduce pre-candidacy spending limits on the election expenses of individuals at certain general elections. These spending limits will apply if and when a Parliament runs for over 55 months. In the case of the current Parliament, the spending limit would apply to all election expenses used after 1 January 2010, should Parliament not be dissolved before that date.
As I made clear at Commons Report stage of the Political Parties and Elections Bill on 9 February, these provisions will not be commenced until restrictions on the use of the Communications Expenditure have been agreed by the House. As my hon. Friend, the Deputy Leader of the House (Barbara Keeley) made clear in a written answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) on 20 July 2009, Official Report, column 800W, the Leader of the House hopes to bring forward the necessary amendments shortly after the summer adjournment.
Mr. Wills: Between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009 the Ministry of Justice press office issued 183 press notices. These were sent to national, regional and international media and highlighted the work and policies of the Department. Writing and issuing press notices is a small part of a press officer's job which also includes elements such as providing a round-the-clock service to global media outlets, arranging and attending media facilities with Ministers, arranging media interviews and media monitoring.
As at 31 August 2009, the Ministry of Justice employed 40 press officers. This includes a press officer on maternity leave. Staffing levels in the Ministry's Communications Directorate now more adequately reflect the high level of media interest in the work of the Department, and the need to meet the high demands of a 24/7 media. It is right that the public know and understand the work of the MOJ and its agencies and how taxpayers' money is being spent. Communications, including the work of the press office, is an important element of this.
As part of our commitment to increase the capacity of the prison estate to 96,000 places, we are building new prisons and expanding existing prisons. The new buildings produced by this capacity programme are providing modern accommodation that is fully compliant with relevant standards such as the new safer cell specification.
In addition, on 27 April I announced that, instead of building three 2,500 place "Titan" prisons, we plan to build five 1,500 place prisons. Our model will draw on best practice in the existing estate to provide first class regimes that will help offenders address their offending behaviour. The 7,500 places provided by these new prisons will allow for the closure of some of the most worn out places.
Mr. Straw: The Government have been pursuing a clear strategy to increase capacity in the prison estate and to ensure that custody is properly targeted at those serious, dangerous and persistent offenders for whom imprisonment is necessary.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average (a) tariff and (b) time served by offenders sentenced to (i) a mandatory life sentence and (ii) a discretionary life sentence was in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Straw: Details of prisoners' releases are published in the 'Offender Management Caseload Statistics' (OMCS) produced by Offender Management and Sentence Analytical Services in the Ministry of Justice. This is available in the Library of the House and is available at:
OMCS provides details of the time served by offenders sentenced to a mandatory life sentence, and by all other life sentenced offenders, not including offenders serving an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP).
|Mandatory Lifers||Other Lifers|
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