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Following a review of all payments and recoupments made in this case, the Legal Aid Board established that neither counsel had yet received all the amounts allowed on the various taxations of costs by the courts. The board has calculated that an additional payment of £15,246 is due to Mr Colin Ross-Munro QC and £7,849 to Mr Hugo Page QC.
The solicitors in the case have informed the Legal Aid Board that some of the earlier taxations are currently the subject of review proceedings and it is therefore expected that further claims will be received once the proceedings have been concluded.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): While we have deep concerns over the humanitarian effects of Russian action in Chechnya, unlike Kosovo, there is no evidence to suggest that the Government have a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing or to create a humanitarian tragedy in Chechnya.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, visited Chechnya in November, and her organisation has full access to the internally displaced people in the region. During her visit Mrs Ogata said that the humanitarian situation in Chechnya would improve with better security and an enhanced international effort. This has been borne out. Russia has provided better protection for UN agencies, and
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My right honourable friend the Minister of State visited Newcastle, Hull, Rotherham, Manchester, Bristol, Bath, Nuneaton, Birmingham and Leicester, each of which is a regional centre of population. This covered the constituencies of Sedgefield, Tyne Bridge, Gateshead and Washington East, Houghton and Washington East, Hull North, Rotherham, Manchester Central, Wythenshawe and Sale East, Bristol South, Bath, Nuneaton, Birmingham Ladywood and Leicester South. In each town or city he visited a variety of venues to meet a broad spectrum of society. This included calls on EU funded projects and visits to companies, schools and universities. All local Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament were informed of his visit and given the opportunity to participate.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: UNHCR's estimated figure for Karen refugees currently in camps in Thailand are 82,254 (out of a total of 98,949 refugees). In May 1997, the Burma Border Consortium's estimated figures for numbers in camps along the border were 90,540 and 101,955 respectively (UNHCR figures for that period are unavailable).
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We now have a fully operational embassy in Khartoum; British staff returned to the embassy in July and the ambassador was appointed in October. One of their key objectives has been to promote a peaceful settlement in the Sudan and, as a result of their presence, we are now in a better position to assist in the quest for a negotiated settlement.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are strongly committed to the measures which Austria's 14 EU partners agreed to take in the event of the Freedom Party joining government. It is up to the Austrian people to choose their government, but it is only right and natural that we should show our deep concern and distaste at the inclusion of a far-Right party in the government of an EU member state.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The sixth report in this series, covering the period July to December 1999, was published today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. A copy of the report is also available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk). The report includes a foreword by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. I commend the report to the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Our proposed pilot scheme for financial bonds will begin in October and last about 15 months. No decision has yet been made on the amount of the bond or the location of the pilot scheme. The option of a bond will be available as a facility in those cases where the intention to return may be in doubt. We shall monitor the pilot to evaluate its effectiveness and usefulness and to ensure it does not disadvantage particular groups of applicants. We shall ensure that the design of the scheme is compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 and our international treaty obligations.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Information is collected and held on all people who die in police or prison custody to the extent that it may help in understanding how the death occurred or how future deaths may be prevented in similar circumstances. Clinical records relating to the mental health of such people may not, however, always be available.
I understand that information about the number of black or Asian people dying in special hospitals or secure psychiatric units in England and Wales is not yet available centrally but that work is currently being carried out by the Mental Health Act Commission which will provide information on the ethnicity of patients who have died while detained.
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