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Lord Dholakia: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that explanation. One of the difficulties faced by those of us who visit detention centres is that detainees do not know precisely why they are there. In many cases the reasons given are not sufficient. I look forward to hearing the results of the Minister's investigation into whether the question of torture is included in the checklist. Would it be possible to provide a sample of the checklist in the Library so that noble Lords can see precisely the kind of information that is made available to detainees? It will be helpful to look at this information and, having studied it in detail, we shall decide whether to return to this matter at Third Reading. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendments Nos. 53 and 54:


Page 29, line 45, at end insert--
(“( ) Each of the following is a relevant decision--
(a) a decision as to whether, and if so how, to exercise the powers conferred by paragraph 21 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act;
(b) a decision as to whether to grant the person concerned leave to enter, or remain in, the United Kingdom;
(c) a decision as to whether to cancel his leave to enter the United Kingdom under paragraph 2A(7) of that Schedule.").
Page 30, line 2, at end insert--
(“( ) If bail is granted under this section, the appropriate court may, on an application by or on behalf of the person released, vary any condition on which it was granted.
( ) If bail is granted under this section, the appropriate court may, on an application by or on behalf of the Secretary of State, vary any condition on which it was granted or impose conditions on it.

18 Oct 1999 : Column 899


( ) “Appropriate court" means--
(a) if the person released has brought an appeal under the Immigration Acts, the court or other appellate body dealing with his appeal;
(b) in any other case the court which released the person concerned on bail.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 54A and 54B not moved.]

Clause 44 [Power of arrest]:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 55:


Page 33, line 18, leave out (“41") and insert (“ 40").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 55A to 55C not moved.]

Clause 45 [Procedure]:

[Amendment No. 56 not moved.]

Clause 47 [Power to provide for certain bail hearings to be before magistrates]:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 57:


Leave out Clause 47.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 58:


After Clause 47, insert the following new clause--

APPLICATIONS FOR BAIL IN IMMIGRATION CASES

(“.--(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make new provision in relation to applications for bail by persons detained under the 1971 Act.
(2) The regulations may confer a right to be released on bail in prescribed circumstances.
(3) The regulations may, in particular, make provision--
(a) creating or transferring jurisdiction to hear an application for bail by a person detained under the 1971 Act;
(b) as to the places in which such an application may be held;
(c) as to the procedure to be followed on, or in connection with, such an application;
(d) as to circumstances in which, and conditions (including financial conditions) on which, an applicant may be released on bail;
(e) amending or repealing any enactment so far as it relates to such an application.
(4) The regulations must include provision for securing that an application for bail made by a person who has brought an appeal under any provision of this Act or the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 is heard by the appellate authority hearing that appeal.
(5) When exercising his power under subsection (1), the Secretary of State must have regard to the desirability, in relation to applications for bail by persons detained under the 1971 Act, of making provision similar to that which is made by this Part in relation to references to the court under section 38.
(6) Regulations under this section require the approval of the Lord Chancellor.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

18 Oct 1999 : Column 900

Clause 49 [Grants to voluntary organisations]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 59:


Page 36, line 7, at end insert--
(“(3) The Secretary of State shall ensure that advice and assistance under subsection (1) is provided in Northern Ireland.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, there was a brief discussion in Committee about the availability of advice in Northern Ireland. The noble and learned Lord said on that occasion that advice was made available through Section 53 funding. The advice given is that out of 68 appeal and bail hearings in Belfast in the 12 months from March 1998 until February of this year at only two did the Immigration Advisory Service provide representation. It is the body which receives the funding. However, in more than half the hearings the Northern Ireland Law Centre provided representation out of its own funds.

The reasons are fairly clear. The Northern Ireland Law Centre is on the spot. The Immigration Advisory Service has no representation in Northern Ireland. It can in theory send someone over there. As the figures demonstrate, very occasionally it does. But in practice it is extremely difficult for it to cover the situation from Great Britain. It is made even more difficult by the fact that although the hearings are likely to be in Belfast, anyone detained is detained in the Magilligan Prison which is a further 70 miles to the far side of Northern Ireland, about as far distant as one can get. That is a matter to which we shall return later.

It is important that people are able to receive advice. I hope that the Government will consider either funding the Northern Ireland Law Centre to do so, or ensure that the Immigration Advisory Service is able to provide the advice required. I beg to move.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Cope. I support the amendment. The arithmetic is conclusive. The noble Lord has given your Lordships the figures of the number of cases dealt with by the Northern Ireland Law Centre and the IAS. It is a waste of money to require the IAS to traipse over to Belfast, with the expense of air fares and hotel bills, when the Northern Ireland Law Centre is already on the spot and can easily deal with the matter.

I imagine that the IAS has obtained funding for this purpose, and has undertaken the two cases, so that it can obtain the Section 23 funding. But from the Government's point of view would it not be more economical to transfer whatever sum of money is made available for that purpose to the Northern Ireland Law Centre?

Will the Minister also confirm that it is planned to extend legal aid to cover representation at immigration appeal hearings in Northern Ireland as in the remainder of the United Kingdom?

Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, I received recently a letter from the Lord Chancellor stating that he is looking again at the issue of legal representation where there are difficulties associated with those bodies the Government have already named as being acceptable to them as sources of legal representation.

18 Oct 1999 : Column 901

We are now considering one of the most outstanding cases. As the noble Lord, Lord Cope, and my noble friend Lord Avebury, said, there is no doubt that the Northern Ireland Law Centre is regarded as giving outstanding advice. I believe that there is no question about its propriety and the respect in which the body is held. In view of that, and of the letter from the Lord Chancellor--I do not expect the Minister to give a definitive reply now--I hope that the noble Lord will draw the Northern Ireland Law Centre to the attention of his noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor. It is precisely the kind of case where we have argued that there should be assistance for bail hearings somewhat wider than that provided only by those bodies which are well known as major sources of advice but which do not operate very much outside the main centres on the mainland.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I know that the subject has been of concern to interest groups. We have been advised by the Immigration Advisory Service that the relevant advice and assistance is available. However, I am unable to respond to the figures that the noble Lord, Lord Cope, gave. I can assure the House that particular attention will be given to ensure that representation in relation to bail is available in Northern Ireland. In the light of the concerns expressed, the best that I can do is to offer to write to noble Lords setting out what our investigations reveal and how best to deliver on the assurance I have just given: that particular attention will be given to ensure that representation is available in Northern Ireland in respect of those bail applications.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, in the light of that response, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

12.15 a.m.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury moved Amendment No. 60:


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