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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The issue of funding for public interest cases was discussed in the consultation paper Access to Justice with Conditional Fees last year. I have concluded that a separate fund to provide assistance for public interest cases is neither necessary nor desirable. We can provide for these cases more effectively by building the concept of public interest into the fabric of the Community Legal Service Fund itself. This will ensure that the potential of every civil case to raise issues of wider public interest can be considered. Under the new Funding Code public interest cases will be a priority. Clause 9(2)(g) of the Bill obliges the Legal Services Commission to consider "the public interest" as a factor in framing the criteria in the code. Chapter 4 of the Consultation Paper on the code, published by the Legal Aid Board in January this year, discusses how this might be done. Cases that have a wider public interest are more likely to receive help under the code. They may not, for example, have to score as highly on other factors such as the prospects of success, although this is not, and cannot be, an open ended guarantee of funding.
Baroness Amos: Restoring educational facilities is an important element in returning normality to Kosovo. We are currently assessing needs in this and other sectors to identify what the international community should do in the short term to help the Kosovars re-establish their schools and colleges. Thereafter the longer term structure for education and the assistance that the
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): At present, the status of United Kingdom police officers working for Europol differs from force to force. We are discussing with the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), which represents the United Kingdom on the Europol Management Board, and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) ways in which the status of United Kingdom officers and their pension arrangements might be simplified and made common throughout the United Kingdom.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The judgment has been widely publicised in the national and legal press and the Home Office has written to all chief officers of police drawing their attention to it. In the Government's view, no further action is necessary to ensure compliance.
Lord Burlison: Her Majesty's Government were not informed by the Russian authorities about sub-critical nuclear tests last autumn or tests to be conducted this year. Details did however become public in the course of briefings to Russian media representatives in December 1998 and January this year. US tests are matters for the US authorities. The UK's nuclear weapons are not being tested in this manner. However, we do not rule out the need to conduct at some future stage small-scale experiments to ensure the safety and reliability of our Trident warheads. Such experiments will of course be consistent with our international treaty obligations.
Lord Burlison: Members of the Retired Officer Group are former military officers who have been re-employed as MoD civil servants in posts that require specific military experience. Their salaries are subject to annual negotiation between the department and the Retired Officers Association. The requirement for retired officers and their conditions of service generally are kept under regular review. One such periodic review is currently underway.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Ahtisaari-Chernomyrdin agreement, which is included in the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) of 10 June, specified that suspension of military activity would occur inter alia after the beginning of verifiable withdrawals of FRY and Serbian forces from Kosovo. This agreement was accepted by the government of the FRY and incorporated in UNSCR 1244 as prepared by G8 Foreign Ministers.
Lord Burlison: NATO and its component states comply with customary and conventional international law and conduct their operations accordingly. Those principles require, inter alia, injury to civilians to be minimised and care to be taken to avoid damage to the environment.
(a) the use of depleted uranium (including airborne particles), cluster bombs and other unconventional weapons;
(b) targeting chemical, pharmaceutical and petrochemical works;
(c) targeting the civil water supply; and
(d) the (classified) weapons that disrupted the civil electricity supply of Belgrade and other towns.[HL2948]