Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Castlereagh Holding Centre

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Dubs: Both the Government and the Chief Constable wish to see, as quickly as possible, a situation whereby Castlereagh Holding Centre can be closed. While there is currently no plan to build a replacement, the question of closing Castlereagh Holding Centre is kept under continuous review against the background of the prevailing security situation.

Part-time Judges: Commercial Directorships

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Part-time judges have not been required to give up other commitments--for example, commercial directorships--in the way that is required of full-time appointees. Part-time appointments are very important in the administration of justice. I would not generally make a full time appointment of anyone who has not previously held a part-time appointment successfully. Also, to impose such a requirement could deter suitable candidates from coming forward.

Any part-time judge would bring to the attention of the parties any directorship, or any other interest, held by him or her wherever that could give rise to an appearance of conflict of interest.

Appellate Committee and Privy Council Majority Decisions

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

The Lord Chancellor: In relation to Appellate Committee reports agreed to by the House of Lords

28 Apr 1999 : Column WA42

between Easter 1998 and Easter 1999, eight out of the 63 appeals were split 3:2; seven were split 4:1; and 46 were unanimous. There was one Appellate Committee of seven, which was split 6:1. In the Privy Council, five of the 50 judgments delivered in the same period were split 3:2; one was split 2:1; and one was split 3:1.

Appeal and Appellate Committees: Composition

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

    On how many occasions during the past year the Appeal and Appellate Committees of the House of Lords and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council have included Lords of Appeal other than Lords of Appeal in Ordinary in their composition.[HL2010]

The Lord Chancellor: Appeal and Appellate Committees of the House of Lords and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council included Lords of Appeal in Ordinary on 70 occasions in the year from Easter 1998 to Easter 1999. One hundred and six appeals were heard in that period.

One Appeal Committee (that which considered the petition of Senator Pinochet for a re-hearing) included Lords of Appeal other than Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, namely Lord Goff of Chieveley and Lord Nolan. Only the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary determine petitions for leave to appeal.

In relation to full appeals before Appellate Committees, 20 out of the 54 appeals heard included only one Lord of Appeal who is not a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, four appeals involved two such Lords of Appeal and two appeals involved three (one of whom was the recently retired Lord Lloyd of Berwick). No Appellate Committee of five has ever included more than three Lords of Appeal other than Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, on which Privy Counsellors who hold or have held high judicial office may sit (a larger number of judges than the Lords of Appeal), heard 52 appeals. Twenty-seven of these appeals involved one judge who was not a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, 13 involved two such judges and three appeals involved three such judges.

General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they intend to make sure that the enquiry into the possibility of a leak from the Law Lords' conclusions on the case of General Pinochet will be independent from the Law Lords who sat on the case; and[HL2018]

    What is the form of the inquiry into the alleged leak of the Law Lords' findings in the case of General Pinochet.[HL2069]

28 Apr 1999 : Column WA43

The Lord Chancellor: Further to my Answer on 31 March (WA 68), the inquiry instigated by the Clerk of the Parliaments at the request of the senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary is being conducted by a suitably qualified former senior Civil Servant recommended by the Cabinet Office. The investigator will make his report to the Clerk of the Parliaments. Other than in assisting the investigator, the Lords of Appeal have no part in the conduct of the inquiry.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 13 April (WA 113) whether they will list the names of all the people whom the representatives of the Crown Prosecution Service met when they visited Madrid prior to the issue of the second warrant for the arrest of General Pinochet.[HL2019]

The Lord Chancellor: Warrants for the arrest of Senator Pinochet have been issued by the Bow Street Magistrates' Court on 16 October 1998 (the first arrest warrant), 22 October 1998 (the second arrest warrant) and on 15 April 1999 (the third arrest warrant).

A lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service, accompanied by counsel instructed by the CPS on behalf of the Kingdom of Spain, has visited Madrid in connection with the proceedings against Senator Pinochet on three occasions. The first occasion was on 22 and 23 October 1998. The second occasion was on 22 and 23 December 1998, and the third occasion was on 6 and 7 April 1999.

Before, during and after visiting Madrid there has been telephone contact between the CPS and counsel and Judge Baltasar Garzon Real.

During visits to Madrid the CPS lawyer and counsel have attended meetings with Judge Baltasar Garzon Real and also meetings chaired by Judge Baltasar Garzon Real at which representatives of the Spanish interested parties have been present. These have included Dr. Juan Garces, Enrique de Santiago, Carlos Slepoy and Virginia Dias. These people were only met after the second warrant had been issued. Additionally, secretaries, assistants and interpreters have been present at meetings.

During the first visit, the CPS lawyer and counsel met the acting British Ambassador prior to meeting the Spanish authorities.

The CPS lawyer and counsel have attended in Madrid to receive instructions from Judge Baltasar Garzon Real, to inspect documentation and to advise on the extradition proceedings.

Throughout the extradition proceedings, the Crown Prosecution Service has been acting as agent for the Kingdom of Spain in its capacity as a private lawyer acting for a foreign client and not that of prosecutor, as has been recognised by the Divisional Court. It would

28 Apr 1999 : Column WA44

not therefore be appropriate to detail the contents of the meetings held in Madrid. The matters raised touch on client-solicitor confidentiality and are for resolving through the judicial process.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether General Pinochet, if he is no longer assisted by supporters from Chile, would be entitled to apply for legal aid in fighting the case to extradite him.[HL2022]

The Lord Chancellor: Yes. Any person in proceedings such as this may apply for legal aid and it will be for the court to decide whether legal aid is granted. In reaching a decision, the court will take into account both whether it is in the interests of justice for legal aid to be granted and whether the applicant's means are such as to justify providing help in meeting the likely costs of the case.

Corpus Juris

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the adoption by the European Parliament on 13 April of a resolution supporting corpus juris and demanding the appointment of a European public prosecutor with wide powers over criminal law in member states and having control over Europol.[HL2074]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Government note that, although the European Parliament welcomed corpus juris as a possible example for future developments, it said that it was not seeking the creation of a European Penal Code. The Government fully share the objective of fighting fraud against the Community budget, but disagree with many of the recommendations of the Corpus Juris study, including the proposal to establish a European public prosecutor. The Government also reject the idea that the European public prosecutor should be given control over Europol. Corpus Juris has not been submitted to the Council of Ministers, but if this were to happen, unanimous agreement would be needed for its proposals to be adopted and come into effect.

Animal Welfare Legislation

Lord Eames asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether current legislation is sufficient to safeguard the welfare of animals in the United Kingdom.[HL2133]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Yes, there is a considerable body of law affording protection to animals in a range of circumstances.

The Government are committed to high standards of animal welfare, and will continue to improve these

28 Apr 1999 : Column WA45

standards at European Union and national level. The Government are concerned to ensure that animals are not permitted to suffer unnecessarily and, to this end, animal welfare legislation is continually reviewed.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page