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Lord Donoughue: My Lords, first, I should like to thank the noble Lord and all his colleagues on that Select Committee. In my observation, all such reports bring great credit to this House. I have already discussed that report with the noble Lord and I found it particularly good. I can promise the noble Lord that we shall respond within the due time. The question of a debate is for the usual channels. With regard to Dr. Pusztai, it is the case that the level of active materials used was impressively high and it could therefore be argued that it was not of practical relevance.

Lord Gisborough: My Lords, first, does the Minister accept that logic and information from the advisory committee will provide reassurance about our own foods, or should do so? To what extent do equivalent advisory committees exist in other countries where such foods are produced; such as the United States or other European countries? After all, food whether raw or processed now crosses boundaries.

Secondly, there is a possibility of some genetically modified fish, for example--except that that has not yet been done--getting out into the wild. Such foods could be produced by countries which have no or very few controls. Is pressure being brought to bear to try to bring into line countries without such regulations?

Lord Donoughue: My Lords, we are aware that the quality of our advisory committees is as high as anywhere--and is higher than in many other countries. We are not in a position to determine the quality of advisory committees in other countries. However, these matters are dealt with on a pan-European basis within the European Union. With regard to other countries, the same question arises. To a great extent, we can influence what happens within the European Union, but outside the European Union it is a question of applying the rules of the World Trade Organisation. If any other points will be helpful to the noble Lord, I shall certainly write to him about them.

Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, although it is clear that the Government have demonstrated a clear, continuing and much improved approach to food safety, would my noble friend care to consider the fact that a number of well informed conservationists have certain anxieties about the ecological consequences? The noble Lord, Lord Taverne, may not have noticed that in one newspaper report six of the 20 scientists quoted appeared to be offering cautionary comments, some about the ecological effects. I support the call for a debate on the matter in this House, but does my noble friend understand that the British countryside and British ecology have suffered grievous damage over recent decades as a result of agricultural changes and

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that assurances are needed, not least with regard to the transfer of genetic material from a commercial species to a wild one?

Lord Donoughue: My Lords, my noble friend makes some important points. We are very aware of the danger of transference from the commercial to the wild. The trial plantings due to take place will be geared in that direction. The broader environmental and ecological aspects are not my responsibility but rest with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. However, the two departments work closely together on these issues.

Earl Russell: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the reassurance of the public, where that is appropriate, is more easily achieved if the scientific research on which we must perforce rely is funded without strings from public funds than if it is sponsored by those who might have a commercial interest in its outcome?

Lord Donoughue: My Lords, that is a very deep issue. The reality is that a great deal of the research that is carried out has received major contributions from private interests, some of which--or many of which--could be said to have an interest in the outcome. That is why we have in place various regulatory procedures and assessment committees to consider the conclusions and much peer assessment by other scientists. Those involved must declare their interests, which have to be registered and are published. We put in place whatever process we can to ensure an independent outcome. In the end, we are dependent on the integrity of our scientists conducting this research. I do not believe that there is great evidence that they lack that integrity.

Lord Hoyle: My Lords, we have now reached the time when we must move on.

Access to Justice Bill [H.L.]

5.16 p.m.

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed on Clause 13.

Lord Thomas of Gresford moved Amendment No. 98:

Page 9, line 29, at end insert ("except itself providing advice and assistance").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 99:

Page 9, line 29, at end insert--
("(2A) The Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to discharge the function in subsection (2) in accordance with the order.").

Lord Brightman: My Lords, I shall not take up more than a moment of your Lordships' time, but I wanted to question whether it is really necessary to add another subsection to Clause 13(2) to achieve that which my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor wishes.

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Clause 13(1) requires the commission to give legal assistance to persons arrested and held in custody. Subsection (2) states how that is to be done. The amendment seeks to add a further subsection (2A), stating:

    "The Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to discharge the function in subsection (2) in accordance with the order".

My question to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor is whether what he wants could not be achieved simply by adding eight words to line 15 on page 9 which currently reads:

    "The Commission may comply with the duty imposed by subsection (1)",
and so forth. Would it not be sufficient simply to say, "The commission may and, if ordered by the Lord Chancellor, shall, comply with the duty"? That would get rid of the proposed subsection. I do not know whether my noble and learned friend is willing to refer this suggestion to his drafting team.

The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, I believe that these amendments have already been debated, but in view of what the noble and learned Lord has just said, I shall study Hansard, refer his point to the draftsman and write to him thereafter.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 14 [Representation]:

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 100:

Page 9, line 33, leave out from ("3") to end of line 38 and insert ("(which makes provision about the grant of a right to representation in criminal proceedings) has effect; and the Commission shall fund representation to which an individual has been granted a right in accordance with that Schedule.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 100A:

Page 9, line 40, leave out ("(2)") and insert ("(1)").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 100A, 106A and 190A are purely technical and consequential on Amendment No. 100, which has been debated already. Amendment No. 100 places the duty to fund representation in Clause 14(1) instead of its present position in subsection (2). These amendments are necessary to amend the reference to the duty where it appears in the existing Clause 14(3) and (5). I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 101:

Page 10, line 7, leave out ("or loans").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, during the Committee debate I accepted Amendment No. 154 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart. His amendment deleted the reference in Clause 13(2)(e) to loans as a method of funding individuals to enable them to obtain advice and assistance in criminal cases. The mention of loans in the clause, as currently drafted, was an anomaly resulting from common drafting elements in Clause 7 of the Bill relating to the community legal service.

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The noble Lord's arguments apply equally to loans to individuals for representation in Clause 14(3)(e). Payment for representation will be required only in the circumstances described in Clause 16(2), which states:

    "(2) Where representation for an individual in respect of criminal proceedings in the Crown Court is funded by the Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service, the trial judge may, subject to regulations under subsection (3), make an order requiring him to pay some or all of the cost of the representation".
Loans for criminal defence services are never appropriate. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Lord Brougham and Vaux): My Lords, if Amendment No. 102 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 103.

Lord Thomas of Gresford moved Amendment No. 102:

Page 10, line 9, leave out from beginning to ("or").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 103 not moved.]

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