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27 Jun 2001 : Column: 115W
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for Industry and Energy regarding the processing of outstanding claims for miners' compensation in Wales. 
As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales established the Welsh sub-group of the Coal Health Claims Monitoring Group specifically to address coal health issues in Wales and to report back to the GB-wide group. I am convinced the measures discussed, and the actions so far agreed, will further speed up the processing of coal health claims.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the Lord Chancellor proposes to set a discount rate under the Damages Act 1996; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor has today laid before Parliament an Order under section 1 of the Damages Act 1996 setting the discount rate at 2.5 per cent. This rate will come into effect on 28 June 2001.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what arrangements the Lord Chancellor is making to consult on the recommendations of the OFT report on the legal profession. 
Mr. Wills: The Government have said that they recognise the matters raised by the OFT Report "Competition in Professions" are complex areas and that they will consult on the report, and consider comments on the Director General of Fair Trading's analysis before taking further action. My officials are working closely with their colleagues in the Department of Trade and Industry and other Government Departments to prepare a consultation paper, which we plan to issue in the autumn.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the Lord Chancellor will decide whether the maximum limits for the statutory legacy should be reviewed, so as to reflect changes in house prices and the rate of inflation. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Lord Chancellor is aware that the levels of statutory legacy in interstate succession have not been reviewed since 1993, and he has asked his officials to carry out a consultation exercise on whether the limits should be raised, and if so, to what level.
27 Jun 2001 : Column: 116W
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS), a non- departmental public body, is a new dedicated service to safeguard and promote the best interests of children involved in family court proceedings. CAFCASS was only launched on 1 April 2001 and it is still early in the life of the new organisation. The Lord Chancellor is accountable to Parliament for the service's activities and performance and I am taking a close interest in its operation.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government believe the indemnity principle prevents legal representatives from entering into transparent funding arrangements with their clients. The Government's views have been made known to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and we are working with them to devise ways in which the Government's policy can be brought into effect.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what recent assessment she has made of the value for money for fees payable in legal aid cases to (a) junior counsel and (b) QCs; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: In determining remuneration the Lord Chancellor is required to consider three statutory factors under section 25(3) of the Access to Justice Act 1999: (a) the need to secure the provision of services of the description to which the order relates by a sufficient number of competent persons and bodies; (b) the cost to public funds; and (c) the need to secure value for money. Recent remuneration measures under that Act have therefore considered value for money.
In publicly funded family work, the Lord Chancellor introduced the Family Graduated Fees Scheme for junior and Queen's Counsel, on 1 May 2001. The scheme provides for set fees, graduated to take account of complexity and specific issues in the case. In criminal cases, regulations introduced in September 2000 have controlled more tightly the circumstances where QCs or more than one advocate might be allowed for the defence in Crown court cases. Individual case contracts have been introduced in high cost cases. These secure the provision of legal services at a fixed price. New regulations, to be introduced in October, will extend the existing 10-day advocates graduated fees scheme for Crown court trials to cases lasting up to 25 days.
27 Jun 2001 : Column: 117W
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment she has made of the approach adopted by insurers to the recoverability of insurance premiums in CFA-funded cases; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: It is open to parties who believe items of cost to be unreasonable to challenge those costs in a court assessment. While it is a matter ultimately for the courts, the Government believe that recoverability includes reasonable premiums reasonably incurred, including premiums on policies taken out before any proceedings start. As long as liability insurers wish to be able to recover their costs in cases that they win, it is not unreasonable for claimants to take out insurance against that risk at the outset and to seek to recover the premium in cases where they are successful.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans the Lord Chancellor has to deal with the problem of divorce in the Jewish community, when a husband refuses to grant his wife a get. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government are sympathetic to the needs of Jewish women who are denied a religious divorce. They have supported two Private Members' Bills on the subject, which unfortunately have not been able to complete their passage through Parliament. Further consideration is being given to the best way forward.
27 Jun 2001 : Column: 118W
Mr. Leslie: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates, the Cabinet Office Resource Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2001-02 will be increased by £17,605,000 from £125,417,000 to £143,022,000. The Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2001-02 will be increased by £37,805,000 from £21,980,000 to £59,785,000. The administration costs limit will be increased by £17,605,000 from £124,345,000 to £141,950,000.