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Keith Vaz: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to her answer of 20 June 2002, Official Report, column 530W, on child abductions, to which countries the children were abducted. 
|Country||Number of cases||Return of child achieved||Other result achieved||Pending|
1 Jul 2002 : Column 170W
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many contact centres for absent parents and children there have been in England over the last five years, broken down by (a) health authority and (b) region. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Child contact centres are run by the voluntary sector. No current data are kept on how many child contact centres exist or their location. The Child Contact Centre Working Group, which is facilitated by the LCD, will be undertaking a mapping exercise of child contact centre service provision in England and Wales. 264 child contact centres in England are currently affiliated to the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC). The Government are working in partnership with NACCC, through the working group, to develop standards for child contact centres and a national network of child contact centres, which will provide safe and meaningful contact between children and their non-resident parent.
1 Jul 2002 : Column 171W
Mr. Drew: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on the role of hearing costs in settlements resulting from serious road traffic accidents. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The settling of a dispute of any kind is a private matter between the parties and the court has no role in determining the basis on which the parties settle. Where the parties to a dispute have reached an agreement on all issues, including which party is to pay costs, but have not agreed the amount of those costs, then if they both agree, they may start "costs only" proceedings, whereby the court will determine the level of costs payable. This procedure was introduced in July 2000.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what discussions she has had with representatives of the (a) legal profession and (b) insurance industry on bringing quicker settlements to cases where a serious injury has been sustained as a result of a road traffic accident. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Ministers and officials of this Department have regular discussions with both the legal profession and the insurance industry. However, since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in April 1999,
1 Jul 2002 : Column 172W
Mr. Vaz: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many judicial appointments she has made since 1 May 1997 in each category; and how many are (a) women, (b) black and (c) Asian. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The table shows the number of appointments in the main categories of the judiciary made between 1 May 1997 and 21 June 2002. It shows the total number, the number of women judges and those judges who have stated on an ethnic monitoring questionnaire that they are of black or Asian origin.
The Lord Chancellor is committed to the principles of equality of opportunity and appointment on merit and is keen to see an increasingly diverse judiciary. The number of women and minority ethnic judges should be seen in the context of the composition of the profession from which judges are drawn. In 200001 5.4 per cent. of barristers with over 15 years' experience were of ethnic minority origin (there were no comparable figures for solicitors) and 14.4 per cent. of barristers with over 15 years' experience were women and 15.5 per cent. of solicitors with over 15 years' experience were women. The average length of time lawyers are in practice before being appointed to first rung judicial appointments is between 15 and 20 years. Those appointed to the more senior levels have much longer experience in the profession.
The proportion of ethnic minority and women judges in post has been steadily increasing over the years. For example, in April 1998 the proportion of women in the main tiers of the judiciary was 10.3 per cent. This had increased to 14.4 per cent. by April 2002. The proportion of ethnic minority judges in post in April 1998 was 1.6 per cent.; in April 2002 it was 2.3 per cent.
|Lords of Appeal in Ordinary||5||0||0||0|
|Heads of Divisions (excluding Lord Chancellor)||4||1||0||0|
|Lords Justices of Appeal||20||2||0||0|
|High Court Judges||52||3||0||0|
|Circuit Judges (including Judges of the Technology and Construction court)||208||37||1||0|
|District Judges (including Family Division)||156||40||1||5|
|Deputy District Judges (including Family Division)||470||129||2||4|
|District Judges (Magistrates court)||15||5||0||0|
|Deputy District Judges (Magistrates courts)||111||21||2||1|
|Immigration Appeals Tribunal Vice Presidents||15||3||1||1|
|Immigration Appeals Tribunal Part-time Legal Members||46||6||0||2|
|Full-time Immigration Adjudicator||60||17||2||3|
|Part-time Immigration Adjudicator||492||147||15||23|
|Full-time Chairman Employment Tribunal||58||7||2||2|
|Part-time Chairman Employment Tribunal||202||50||4||3|
|Full-time Chairman Appeals Tribunal||65||24||1||1|
|Part-time Legal Panel Members Appeals Tribunal(61)||767||257||5||9|
(59) Those appointed on promotion from Assistant Recorder on merit, but not including those promoted automatically to Recordership because of the abolition of the post of Assistant Recorder. It also includes those appointed direct to Recordership under the new arrangements after April 2000.
(60) Those appointed as Assistant Recorders prior to the abolition of the post of Assistant Recorder in April 2000.
(61) Includes re-appointments.
1 Jul 2002 : Column 173W
Bob Spink: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the rules issued by the Law Society relating to the handling of surplus funds arising from the sale of repossessed homes and efforts to return such funds to the original mortgagee who is not a client of the solicitors who holds those funds. 
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