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Double Jeopardy

Lord Milner of Leeds asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Following the recommendation in the Report on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today formally asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of the law on double jeopardy. The terms of reference for this review are:

"To consider the law of England and Wales relating to double jeopardy (after acquittal), taking into account:



    the powers of the prosecution to reinstate criminal proceedings;


    and also the United Kingdom's international obligations; and to make recommendations".

Outstanding Asylum Applications

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many applications for asylum lodged before 1 July 1993, and between 1 July 1993 and 31 December 1995, respectively, remain to be decided.[HL3187]

5 Jul 1999 : Column WA74

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is given in the table.

Asylum applications lodged up to 31 December 1995 outstanding as at 30 May 1999 (9)

ApplicationsNumber
Applications lodged before July 19933,975
Applications lodged from July 1993 to December 199516,180

(9) Estimates rounded to the nearest five.

It is intended that the applications made before July 1993 be cleared by September 1999 and those lodged between July 1993 and December 1995 by April 2000.


Persistent Young Offenders: Sentencing

Viscount Brentford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    By what date they expect to achieve their pledge to halve the time from arrest to sentence of persistent young offenders to 71 days.[HL3268]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In 1996 the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders was 142 days. The Government are committed to halving this by no later than March 2002. Progress so far is encouraging; the average had dropped to 106 days by December 1998. Work continues, in particular through extensions of local fast tracking schemes and the expected nationwide introduction this autumn of new case management provisions.

Viscount Brentford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why in some police force areas the average number of days from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders has increased between 1997 and 1998.[HL3269]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Whilst national performance so far has been encouraging we are concerned that some areas appear to be taking longer to deal with cases. Together with the Youth Justice Board we plan to explore the reasons in more detail with the local youth justice services. We will look at the effect individual cases can have on the averages for particular areas and the operation of and need for improvement in local fast tracking schemes.

Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many unaccompanied children reached the United Kingdom seeking asylum in each of the last 12 months; and whether they can state their countries of origin.[HL3274]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The available information is given in the following table.

Unaccompanied(10) children, aged 17 or under, applying for asylum in the United Kingdom, by nationality
Number of principal applicants

1998(11) 1999(11)1998-99(11)
NationalityAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecJanFebMarTotal
Afghanistan641110111313121413119127
Albania23455754345855
Algeria4156--131--21227
Angola--1--221--11----412
Bangladesh--2------------------13
Belarus2----------------------2
Bosnia-Herzegovina------2----------------2
Burundi----------1--1--1137
China2539364431128171218715264
Colombia--------------212128
Democratic Republic of Congo1146----1--225224
Cyprus----1------------------1
Czech Republic1--1--11----1--128
Ecuador----------2----11----4
Eritrea36261581331088587
Ethiopia2655611615674376
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia968419332526213913986597566701,594
Ghana----1------1----------2
Guinea--1--------2----------3
India1----32----1--31112
Indonesia--------------21--115
Iran2--------1111--1--7
Iraq--1322337493239
Jamaica--2----------------1--3
Kenya3----1--14--11--314
Latvia--------1--1--2----15
Lebanon--11----1----------14
Liberia--------1--------------1
Lithuania1112121133--117
Macedonia--------------------------
Moldova11------2----1------5
Nigeria321341--1--43325
Pakistan2--211----3211114
Poland25--24296421441
Romania7951347234131573
Russia------11--------------2
Rwanda--111--4--1242117
Sierra Leone2231----32142625
Slovakia------1--43----------8
Somalia1269152010161712191414164
Sri Lanka97101199568810597
Sudan--1--1----11--1----5
Tanzania------------1--1----13
Turkey1551213241214131175122
Uganda--1123--------1--19
Former USSR (unspecified)--------------------------
Vietnam--11121----------17
Former Yugoslavia (unspecified)(12)12142------941428
Stateless Palestine--1--------------------1
Other nationalities44143667332144
Nationality unknown----1--2114232117
Total1932013094924062742592151822241611883,104

(10) Unaccompanied at the point of their arrival, excluding those known to be joining a close relative in the United Kingdom.

(11) Figures are provisional.

(12) In-country applicants only.


5 Jul 1999 : Column WA77

Law Commission Recommendations

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

    What measures they will take to give effect to the recommendations of the Law Commission for England and Wales, as set out in its 33rd Annual Report, to take measures to address the backlog in

5 Jul 1999 : Column WA78

    implementing the Commission's recommended reforms.[HL3212]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Government will implement those Law Commission recommendations that it accepts when parliamentary time allows. The Government are also considering ways of finding a better match between the Law Commission's work and the Government's priorities for legislation.



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