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11 Dec 1995 : Column WA99

Shotgun and Firearm Certificates

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many shotgun licences and firearm certificates respectively are currently in force and how many of each have been reported lost in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Six hundred and seventy thousand shotgun certificates and 140,200 firearm certificates were in force in England and Wales on 31 December 1994.

Information is not available centrally on the numbers of such certificates which were reported lost.

Domestic Violence and the Law

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their reply of 28 November (WA 33) whether they regard the conviction of Emma Humphries for murder in 1985 after suffering years of domestic violence, as being consistent with their statement that the law responds with flexibility to the particular circumstances of domestic violence victims.

Baroness Blatch: We remain of the view that the law is able to respond flexibly to the particular circumstances of domestic violence. In the case of

R v Humphries, her conviction for murder was quashed, and a conviction for manslaughter on the grounds of provocation was substituted.

Sexual Offences against Children Abroad

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they intend to take against those who travel abroad to commit sex crimes against children.

Baroness Blatch: My right honourable friend announced on 12 July that he would urgently examine the law of incitement and conspiracy. As a result of that examination, the Government proposes, subject to a suitable legislative opportunity being found, to extend the scope of the law of incitement and conspiracy. This extension would bring within the jurisdiction of the

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courts those who incite others or who conspire to commit sexual offences against children abroad.

Council of Europe Members: Treatment of Asylum Applications

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which member states of the Council of Europe have strengthened their immigration laws with the aim of reducing false asylum applications, and what means were employed by each of those countries to achieve that aim.

Baroness Blatch: I will place in the Library shortly a memorandum on the steps taken by comparable Western European countries.

Master of the Rolls' Review of Legal Year: Recommendations

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to take urgent action to give effect to the conclusions and the recommendations contained in the Master of the Rolls' Review of the Legal Year 1994-95.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackey of Clashfern): I am currently considering the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Master of the Rolls' Review of the Legal Year 1994-95.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept the conclusions of the Master of the Rolls in his Review of the Legal Year 1994-95, that (i) current delays in hearing appeals by the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) are of "intolerable length", and (ii) there is an urgent need for an increase in the judicial strength of the Court of Appeal and for the judges to receive skilled professional assistants, on a one-to-one basis.

The Lord Chancellor: I am concerned about the delays in hearing appeals and am currently considering the conclusion of the review, including the need to increase the judicial strength and the suggestion that judges should have professional assistants on a one-to-one basis.



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