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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): There are nine courthouses comprising 23 courtrooms in Dorset, representing one courthouse per 113.78 square miles or one courtroom per 44.52 square miles; in 1992 there were 12 courthouses comprising 29 courtrooms, representing one courthouse per 85.33 square miles or one courtroom per 35.31 square miles.
The provision of courthouses and courtrooms is the responsibility of the local Magistrates' Courts Committee, which has informed me that it is not currently in the process of consultation over the closure of any courthouses, although an operational decision may be taken in 200203 to reduce the number of hired rooms at County Hall in Dorchester or to suspend the hiring of those rooms pending a consultation exercise.
The Lord Chancellor: I laid before Parliament yesterday orders increasing the level of bereavement damages from £7,500 to £10,000 to reflect the increase in inflation since the figure was last revised in 1991. The orders will take effect from 1 April 2002.
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Through the legislative framework created by the Government the three bodies named, whilst independent in their own right, are encouraged by the Secretary of State to work towards the common goal of an effective and acceptable police service in Northern Ireland.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: There is no constitutional convention. However, as my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said in another place on 25 June 2001, a limited number of holders of very high office may be recommended for a peerage direct to the Queen by him.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The accounting officer for the ombudsman's office is Mr Sam Pollock. A further breakdown of the work carried out by consultants listed in my reply of 13 February is a matter for the ombudsman's office. The Police Ombudsman has
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Weston Park discussions did not result in immediate agreement on political advance. Following intensive discussions there, the British and Irish Governments put a package of measures, covering all outstanding issues, to the Northern Ireland parties on 1 August.
We now want to see further decommissioning by the IRA, and decommissioning by all other terrorist groups. The timing of any future decommissioning events is a matter for the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Five individuals who were released from prison early under the terms of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 have been recalled to prison due to further criminal behaviour.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Questions about the entries in the new Register of Lords' Interests should, in the first instance, be directed to the Registrar of Lords' Interests. The registrar consults whenever necessary the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests, and Members should accept his advice in determining whether any particular interest is relevant or significant for the purposes of the register. A Member who acts on the advice of the registrar in determining what is a relevant interest satisfies fully the requirements of the code of conduct. Janice
The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor has today published the consultation paper Damages for Future Loss: Giving the Courts the Power to Order Periodical Payments for Future Loss and Care Costs in Personal Injury Cases. The consultation paper proposes that the courts should have the power to award damages for future loss and care costs in the form of periodical payments. Responses to the consultation are sought by 7 June 2002. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): Commonwealth Ministers, including law Ministers, have not discussed capital punishment at their meetings over the past 15 years. There are no plans to discuss capital punishment or prison conditions at future meetings.
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