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Printed Material in Braille: Copyright Law

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

Lord Simon of Highbury: The Government are willing in principle to make an amendment of this kind to UK copyright law, but we shall need to be clearer as to our EC obligations in this area before we can proceed further. The draft directive on copyright and related rights in the information society, which seeks generally to harmonise the exceptions to rights which member states may provide in their national laws, does include

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provision for exceptions for the benefit of visually-impaired people. We fully support this, as do other member states, but clearly since the directive is still under negotiation we cannot at present be certain of its final form and therefore of precisely what it will permit us to do. We will also need to consider the views of all interested parties, including those of right owners, before reaching conclusions as to what action should eventually be taken in the UK.

Teacher Dismissals

Baroness Seccombe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many inadequate teachers have been dismissed using the fast track procedure.[HL3834]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Teacher dismissals are not recorded centrally. The National Employers' Organisation for School Teachers (NEOST) is monitoring the implementation and use of the new outline capability procedure for teachers. A NEOST survey of the use of the new procedure has so far received responses from just over 50 per cent. of LEAs in England and Wales and these are currently being collated and analysed. In September my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment will receive powers under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to provide statutory guidance for governing bodies and, where necessary, impose appropriate staff capability procedures on schools. He will continue to monitor the situation to see whether any use of these powers will be necessary.

General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Crown Prosecution Service, in its letter of 25 March to the Spanish magistrate about General Pinochet requesting details of allegations of torture after 29 September 1998, referred to "assisting the Secretary of State", when the Crown Prosecution Service is meant to be independent of the Government.[HL3651]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Crown Prosecution Service was established by the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 as an independent prosecution service headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Prior to the establishment of the Crown Prosecution Service, the Director had, in addition to his functions concerning criminal prosecutions, for many years acted as the agent for foreign states seeking the return of fugitives from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. That role has continued since 1985, with such cases being handled on a day-to-day basis by Crown Prosecutors of the Casework Directorate of the CPS Headquarters in London. The function was formally assigned to the Director by the Attorney General

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on 10 December 1996 under Section 3(2)(g) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.

The nature of the director's role in extradition cases was specifically recognised in 1994 by Lord Justice Glidewell sitting in the Divisional Court in the case of R v. DPP ex parte Frederick Thom. He stated that the position of the director was "not that of a prosecutor but of a private lawyer acting for a foreign client" (The Times, 21 December 1994).

The letter of 25 March 1999 must be understood in that context; it is a communication between a lawyer and his client. It was written after the judgment of your Lordships' House of the previous day in relation to Senator Pinochet's case, in which the Judicial Committee had specifically asked the Secretary of State to reconsider his decision of 9 December 1998 to issue the Authority to Proceed. It is entirely proper for a lawyer in these circumstances to advise his client to place additional material before the Secretary of State. The use of the word "assist" denotes nothing other than the placing of relevant material before the Secretary of State to enable him to consider that material.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their latest estimate of the cost so far to public funds of the extradition proceedings against General Pinochet, including the cost of Counsel to the Crown Prosecution Service, the cost of Counsel to the Home Secretary and the direct cost to the Crown Prosecution Service and any other costs.[HL3755]

The Lord Chancellor: The costs incurred to date by the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the extradition proceedings against General Pinochet are estimated as follows:

    Counsel's fees: £374,000 (inc. VAT)

    Interpreter's fees: £3,500 (inc. VAT)

    Other costs (including CPS staff costs, Photocopying etc.) Approximately: £166,000.

The costs of Counsel incurred to date by the Home Office are approximately £116,000 (including VAT), of which £26,875 (excluding VAT) is, subject to agreement or assessment by the court, recoverable under costs orders made against Senator Pinochet by the Divisional Court. The VAT is also recoverable.

Human Genetics Commission

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the period for their recruitment campaign seeking a chairman and members for the Human Genetics Commission, was confined to only 10 days inclusive of the original announcement; and why they consider this sufficient.[HL3794]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): The application period stated in advertisements was one month. However, in addition to widespread press

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advertisements, a large number of diverse organisations were circulated reflecting the department's wide range of contacts with an interest in this area of work. The letter to these organisations asked that any nominations should be received by 9 July 1999 in order to give time for those nominated to receive, complete and return application forms by the deadline of 31 July 1999. However, it has been made clear to those who have enquired that nominations received after the 9 July will be accepted.


Baroness Cumberlege asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to raise awareness amongst the public and health professionals with regard to the condition known as arachnoiditis.[HL3859]

Baroness Hayman: The Government are taking no specific action to raise awareness of arachnoiditis amongst the public and health professionals. Clinicians who are responsible for instigating or carrying out investigative procedures, notably myelograms, which carry the risk of arachnoiditis, are made aware of this through product literature and continuing professional education. They carry professional responsibility for discussing the risks with patients.

Baroness Cumberlege asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What treatment is available for arachnoiditis; and what research is being undertaken into the causes and possible cures of the condition.[HL3860]

Baroness Hayman: Arachnoiditis is an extremely painful, if uncommon, condition for which there is unfortunately no cure. It is for clinicians to decide in individual cases which treatment will best alleviate the symptoms of this condition and help to control the pain. There are medical services available in all parts of the country including, for example, the services of consultant neurologists, and general practitioners may refer patients to such services.

The Department of Health has not directly commissioned or evaluated research into arachnoiditis. We are unaware of any research being conducted using NHS research and development funding around this condition.

Complementary Medicine: Information Service

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to provide or contribute towards an information service for patients seeking complementary medical treatment.[HL3771]

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Baroness Hayman: We have no plans to do so. Information on the nature of different complementary medicine treatments, and circumstances in which patients might find them helpful, is available from a variety of sources. This includes complementary medicine professional bodies and organisations offering advice and support to people suffering from particular illnesses.

Action on Addiction

Lord Blackwell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of funding for the organisation Action on Addiction comes from the public sector.[HL3881]

Baroness Hayman: Action on Addiction does not receive funding from the Department of Health or from other government departments. We do not have records that would indicate whether it receives funding from other public sources. The organisation is engaged in a number of initiatives, including the endowment of a Chair in the Psychiatry of Addictions at the Institute of Psychiatry.

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