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Lord Avebury: Before the noble and learned Lord replies to that question, perhaps I may ask him about a matter of fact. It is whether the judgments, decisions, declarations and advisory opinions of the European Court of Human Rights, which it is essential for the judiciary to study, are available on the worldwide web. If they are, then obviously the lower echelons of the judiciary would have ready access to them, provided they are properly trained in the use of the web. I hope that that is already the case.
Viscount Colville of Culross: In reply to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, I must say that that would be so if we had the equipment with which we could access the worldwide web. We do not have such equipment and there is nothing on the horizon to provide it.
However, I wish to make a more fundamental point. The noble Viscount's second question seemed to entail an assumption that counsel should be spoon-fed. Counsel should not be spoon-fed. It is the duty of counsel to research their case and, if they have a convention point which they desire to raise, they must equip themselves to do so and gain copies of any relevant reports that they desire to draw to the attention of the court. It is not the function of the state to do counsel's research for him.
Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: Before the noble and learned Lord Chancellor sits down, will he confirm the following? In a case where the accused person or the defendant represents himself and raises some general point based on convention rights, as the Bill is drafted it is not intended that there should be any duty whatever on the court to research the jurisprudence set out in the various judgments, decisions, opinions and the rest of the matters referred to in Clause 2(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d). If the jurisprudence is not cited, the judge is perfectly entitled to go ahead and decide the matter on the arguments advanced by the party defendant himself.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill: Before the noble and learned Lord replies, will he confirm that textbooks already exist which are inexpensive and comprehensive? They summarise the case law. In addition there are periodicals that keep practitioners up to date, even though the convention is not incorporated. Is it right that the Government propose to spend up to £4.5 million, as is made clear in the Explanatory Memorandum, on ensuring that judges and members of tribunals are properly trained in that new area of jurisprudence for them?
The Lord Chancellor: Certainly I can confirm that there are textbooks which are comparatively inexpensive and that there are comprehensive periodicals. They are readily accessible. I repeat what I said, that counsel are not to be spoon-fed but must educate themselves as part of a continuing process of self-education in developing areas of the law. It is intended that convention rights and values shall permeate the work of the courts at all levels. It is up to counsel to get themselves up to speed in that endeavour.
As regards the unrepresented defendant, in this country it is usually a matter of choice because in the criminal courts legal aid will be available. But where a defendant insists upon defending himself, there is a well
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the General Lighthouse Authorities (Beacons and Maritime Differential Correction System) Order 1997 was laid in draft on 28th October. This order defines a differential signal as an aid to marine navigation and permits the General Lighthouse Authorities to operate a system and the General Lighthouse Fund to meet the operating costs.
The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) are the statutory providers of marine aids to navigation in the waters surrounding the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. They are: the Trinity House Lighthouse Service, responsible for England, Wales and the Channel Islands; the Northern Lighthouse Board, responsible for Scotland and the Isle of Man, and the Commissioners of Irish Lights, which is an all-Ireland body and responsible for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
They provide traditional aids to navigation--lighthouses, buoys and beacons--together with radionavigation aids--the Decca Navigator, radiobeacons and radar beacons (more commonly known as Racons). The GLAs are not publicly funded. They are funded from the General Lighthouse Fund, which draws most of its income from the levy of light dues on commercial and fishing vessels calling at UK and Republic ports. The GLAs spend around £65 million per annum. They have an excellent record of efficient operation and joint working over recent
The statutory position of the GLAs as providers of aids to navigation and of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions as managers or trustees of the General Lighthouse Fund are set out in Part VIII of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
Turning to the order, in 1995 the GLAs carried out a joint consultation exercise to determine the provision of marine aids to navigation over the next 25 years or so. The resulting proposals received qualified acceptance from Ministers on 18th March 1997 (Hansard, col. 505). The future provision will include: maintaining traditional aids--lighthouses, buoys and beacons; discontinuation of the Decca Navigator System around the year 2000; an interest in adopting the North West Europe Loran C System when acceptable UK coverage is available; termination of the current radiobeacon system, which is now little used, and the provision of a differential global positioning system. This order deals with the latter system.
The Global Positioning system is well known. It is generally used to refer to the US Department of Defense-operated satellite system though there is also a Russian system. GPS can be used free of charge by the end user but the system can be subject to variations and perhaps failure without the end user realising that there is a problem. That can be corrected by the addition of differential signal. That is transmitted from a known location where GPS is monitored, the known position compared with that indicated by GPS, and corrections are transmitted to suitably equipped receivers.
Section 223(3) of the MSA 1995 provides powers for the Secretary of State to propose (by affirmative order) that a different type of aid to navigation shall be construed as an aid to navigation. As such, it can be operated by the GLAs and the costs can be met from the GLF. That power has been used three times; twice in 1987 to permit the GLAs to adopt the Decca Navigator (two orders were required, one to cope with the general UK provision, with a second dealing with the particular requirements of operating a transmitter from Jersey) and again in 1991, when provision was made for the GLAs to operate the Loran C system. In the event the latter power has not been used but has been retained in the event of the UK adopting the scheme.
The Republic of Ireland proposes to make similar provisions within the Merchant Shipping Act (Commissioners of Irish Lights) Bill 1997, which is currently under consideration in the Republic's Parliament.
Apart from a clear contribution to safety, the provision of DGPS is part of a package which is expected to save about £30 million over 25 years. The system is expected to cost £1.7 million in capital with running costs of about £35,000 per annum. That compares with the £3.5 million annual running costs of the Decca Navigator. Provision for the capital costs has already been made within the expenditure proposals of the GLAs and the detailed financial planning arrangements of the GLF. There would be no
Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 28th October be approved [11th Report from the Joint Committee].--(Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton.)
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