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Lord Goodhart: My Lords, these two orders are not controversial so far as I am concerned. I have nothing to add to the order covering the European Court of Human Rights. It appears to be an obvious and necessary consequence of the 11th protocol.

As regards the International Seabed Authority order, I should like to ask one question and to put one point to the Minister. My question is: where is the authority situated? Obviously, that will have a significant effect on the impact of the order. The point that I should like the Minister to note is that I think it is a little unusual--I do not know whether it is unique--that this order appears to cover both an international authority--the authority itself--and what is in effect a commercial organisation, an enterprise that is so far inchoate. Presumably it will be acting, when it comes into effect, under a more limited form of immunity which is appropriate to a commercial organisation rather than what one might call a legal institution. I should be glad of a brief explanation of that point.

Lord Brabazon of Tara: My Lords, I, too, have no objection to either of these orders, other than that both were laid before the House on 19th June, and that we have received them with manuscript amendments this afternoon--or perhaps I should say tonight. Why was the department yet again not able to print the orders properly?

The orders merely add to a long list of people being given immunities and privileges. As I see it, that mostly involves being able to escape the payment of parking tickets and such like. Can the Minister say how many people are likely to be involved in this exercise?

As regards the European Court of Human Rights order, I believe that it states that anyone who comes to this country to give evidence and so forth will form a part of this exemption. I hope that the department will publish on an annual basis the number of parking tickets attracted by diplomats and other international organisations and that both of the organisations mentioned here will be included on that list. Furthermore, I hope that such organisations will be warned that they should not abuse the immunity that they are about to be given.

Lord Bach: I am grateful to the two noble Lords who have spoken. The headquarters of the authority are in

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Jamaica, to respond to the question from the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart. In relation to the Enterprise, that is an organ of the authority which, in due course, will carry out activities directly in the area, in other words on the deep seabed beyond the jurisdiction of any state. It is not yet functioning independently. When it does so, Article 14 of the order that we are debating shall come into force.

As regards the number of people in the United Kingdom enjoying diplomatic privileges and immunities, I am conscious that what we have discussed in regard to the Court of Human Rights order is those who use the Court of Human Rights, whether lawyers or people whose cases are being heard there, as well as those who sit there. To answer the noble Lord's question, 2,602 officials in the United Kingdom with their families are entitled to full diplomatic privileges and immunities. That includes 13 high officers of international organisations and 64 non-permanently resident members of the Commonwealth Secretariat, which is the same by Act of Parliament as a diplomatic mission. There are a further 1,942 officials in the UK serving in diplomatic missions and the Commonwealth Secretariat who, with their families, are entitled to rather more restrictive privileges and immunities. In the case of

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international organisations, 2,601 staff members enjoy immunity only in respect of their official acts. Their emoluments are also exempt from United Kingdom tax, provided that they are neither UK nationals nor permanent residents there. They enjoy relief from Customs duties on their furniture and personal effects at the time of the installation in this country. They enjoy no other privileges. I bet that the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, did not expect as full an answer to his query as that! I commend the order to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

International Seabed Authority (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2000

6.6 p.m.

Lord Bach: My Lords, this order has already been spoken to. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 19th June be approved [23rd Report from the Joint Committee].--(Lord Bach.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

        House adjourned at seven minutes past six o'clock.

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