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House of Lords: Painting

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The painting will include those staff who would be present in the Chamber when the House is in session, namely the Clerks at the Table, Black Rod and three Doorkeepers. They will not contribute towards the cost of the painting.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees: It is not expected that any members of the public will be identifiably painted in the galleries.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees: The title has not yet been decided.

British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1990: Governor's Report

Lord Strathcarron asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The Governor of Hong Kong submitted his fifth report to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary on 3rd July. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Immigration Appeals: Adjudicators' Recommendations

Baroness Rawlings asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy in relation to recommendations made by adjudicators in dismissed or withdrawn immigration appeals.

Baroness Blatch: There is no statutory power enabling an adjudicator to make a recommendation in an appeal which is dismissed or withdrawn, and we are not bound to accept such recommendations.

It has hitherto been the practice to comply with adjudicators' recommendations unless to do so would be unreasonable or inconsistent or would undermine general policy.

We have reviewed this policy in the light of evidence that some applicants are lodging appeals which cannot succeed on their merits because of statutory limitations, but in which the appeal hearing is being used as a means of persuading an adjudicator to make a recommendation. Henceforth, we will act on adjudicators' recommendations in dismissed or withdrawn appeals only where the written determination discloses clear exceptional compassionate circumstances which have not been previously considered and which would merit the exercise of our discretion outside the Immigration Rules.

Extra-territorial Jurisdiction: Policy Review

Lord Campbell of Alloway asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to announce the outcome of the review of policy on extra-territorial jurisdiction.

Baroness Blatch: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is today publishing the report of the review which he set up with the agreement of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. A copy has been placed in the Library. The review advised against any general extension of extra territorial jurisdiction because of the implications which so substantial an extension of jurisdiction would have for the procedures and rules of evidence of the United Kingdom courts. It recommended, however, in favour of the adoption of a set of policy guidelines, against which proposals for

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taking extra-territorial jurisdiction over individual offences should be judged. These are:


    where the offence is serious (this might be defined, in respect of existing offences, by reference to the length of sentence currently available);


    where, by virtue of the nature of the offence, the witnesses and evidence necessary for the prosecution are likely to be available in the United Kingdom territory, even though the offence was committed outside the jurisdiction;


    where there is international consensus that certain conduct is reprehensible and that concerted action is needed involving the taking of extra territorial jurisdiction;


    where the vulnerability of the victim makes it particularly important to be able to tackle instances of the offence;


    where it appears to be in the interests of the standing and reputation of the United Kingdom in the international community;


    where there is a danger that offences would otherwise not be justiciable.

Meeting any of the guidelines would not mean automatically that jurisdiction would be taken, but it would establish a prima facie case for considering the issue further.

The review advised that sexual offences committed against children abroad satisfied a number of these criteria, and that extra-territorial jurisdiction should be taken over these offences. The review also recommended in favour of the assumption of jurisdiction over acts of incitement and conspiracy committed in this country in respect of offences abroad. This will assist our efforts to control the activities of foreign extremists who use this country as a base to plan or encourage criminal acts abroad.

We have accepted all of these recommendations. Legislation to give effect to them will be brought forward at the earliest possible opportunity. In respect of those aspects relevant to the activities of foreign extremists, we shall also be taking account of the findings of Lord Lloyd's Inquiry into Counter-Terrorism Legislation.

HM Prison Eastwood Park: Women's Cubicles

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the exact size and cubic capacity and floor space of the 86 cubicles for women at HM Prison Eastwood Park, Gloucester; and what is the maximum period of continuous occupation of such cubicles by prisoners.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

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Letter to Lord Hylton from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 23rd July 1996.


    Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the exact size and cubic capacity and floor space of the 86 cubicles for women at Eastwood Park prison, and what is the maximum period of continuous occupation of such cubicles.


    The exact size of 42 of the smaller cells is 6' 2½" wide x 8' 7½" deep x 9' ½" high. The cubic capacity is 484.15 cubic feet with a floor space of 53.54 square feet. The remaining 44 smaller cells have a larger depth of 8' 9". This increases the cubic capacity to 491.16 cubic feet and floor space to 54.32 square feet.


    Prisoners are locked in their cells overnight, between 20.30-07.45 hours, a period of 11.25 hours.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the recommendations of the Prison Inspectorate concerning the 86 cubicles for women at HM Prison Eastwood Park, Gloucester; and whether the recommendations have been observed; and if not, why not.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Hylton from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 23rd July 1996:


    Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about what recommendations the Prison Inspectorate had made concerning the 86 cubicles for women at HM Prison Eastwood Park, and whether the recommendations had been observed, and if not, why not.


    The Inspectorate made three recommendations:


    (a) time in cell must be minimised if the cell sizes are to be considered acceptable.


    (b) Implementation of the regime, including activities and planned association, should proceed without delay.


    (c) Basic regime prisoners should be held only in the larger cells.

The first two recommendations were accepted by the area manager responsible for Eastwood Park but the third was not. Basic regime prisoners are those who have failed to conform with the regime and their allocation to the larger cells could be viewed by others as a reward for bad behaviour.

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Prisoners Detained During Her Majesty's Pleasure

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What procedural changes will be made following the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights of 21st February 1996 in Singh and Hussain concerning its release of prisoners sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Baroness Blatch: Prisoners detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure who have served a period adequate to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence, have their cases reviewed periodically by the Parole Board. At present, responsibility for their release rests with the Secretary of State. This responsibility cannot be conferred on the Parole Board or any other body without primary legislation.

As an interim measure, we have decided to change the administrative arrangements for the review and release of such prisoners. These administrative arrangements will apply to all such prisoners whose next Parole Board review begins on or after 1st August 1996. The changes will mean that these prisoners may have legal representation and an oral hearing before the Parole Board. They will also then be able to examine and cross-examine witnesses. They will normally receive full disclosure of all material relevant to the question of whether they should be released.

If, at that review, the Parole Board favours the release of a prisoner, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary will normally accept such a recommendation. His consideration of all such cases remains subject to consultation with the judiciary, as required by section 35(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

The Singh and Hussain judgments affect only the process by which the decision is made on whether to release prisoners sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure. They do not relate to the period of detention which such prisoners must serve to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence, or Parole Board reviews which take place before the end of that period.

There will be no change to the dates set for Parole Board reviews of prisoners who have served that period, other than in the very small number of cases where my right honourable friend rejected the board's recommendation for release at the last review. Such cases will, exceptionally, be referred back to the Parole Board for early consideration under the new arrangements.


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