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Crime - Organised - Institutionalised - Corruption - Fraud - Protection Rackets, run and managed by judicial chair occupants, in a free-for-all state of abundance. Note below the arrangements between the administrative, the judiciary and the media; read of the all-embracing guarantee in place, in contempt of all law : the root shall be pointed to.

WHERE IS JUSTICE? Read below:-

"The court has inherent jurisdiction to stay an action which must fail; as, for instance an action brought in respect of an act of State"

*Link from here to founder's tribulations in 1972-75 and marvel at the creativity of allegedly honourable officers of Justice and the Law in the mother of all PSEUDOdemocracies

  • And by extension any act of any public servant who is appointed, retained and maintained by other public servants for all of whom, the state, as employer, is ultimately responsible, including abusers of judicial chair occupancy. Hence, the billions paid out as covered in the affidavit which visitors can link to directly from here [*Link].
  • Link also from here to the founder's conclusions as of 1972-75 when the great Metropolitan police were seen to be nothing but accessories to and abettors of the rampant fraud and corruption through the courts organised and processed to fruition while Members of Parliament were -as they still do- promoting the waffle that amounts to nothing short of:-

'independence of the judiciary to act in contempt of ALL LAW (national and international) in a pseudo-democracy.

*Link from here to proof of the parts the police play in promotion and expansion of the criminal activities instigated, processed and imposed on society by the legal circles. Read of assertions by a typical hypocrite, none other than the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Robert Mark QPM, when he spoke of FALSE RECORDS / FORGERIES by the legal circles while delivering his famous Dimbleby Lecture on BBC-TV in November 1973, 15 months after he received true copy of THE FORGERY advanced and promoted by the licensed criminals : solicitors and barristers for their evil ends in the case that opened Andrew Yiannides' mental eyes to the realities of life in the United Kingdom, a typical PSEUDOdemocracy. Can anyone enlighten Andrew and the millions of victims of the legal circles WHY NO PROSECUTION of the solicitors & the barristers in 1972 or thereafter?.

  • With such a facility in place (the words we point to above) and arrogant abuse of public office, can anyone assert, or argue, that Mr Andrew Yiannides, the founder of human-rights, was not right to determine that Justice has been abducted and that she is held captive in the dungeons maintained by her abductors who rape her daily in their courts? (>Hence the c reation of www.jusaticeraped.org <)
  • ALL Member States of the European Union are subject to the ruling which visitors, readers and researchers can access in the explicit page /yourrights.htm

*Link from here to the realities - in due course also a link to the warning (indirect but nonetheless very clear) for thinkers to recognise 

  • On 3rd March 2008 >someone's birthday< we released a House of Lords PRECEDENT CASE and reveal deliberations by their Lordships in respect of FRAUD - DECEPTION - CONSPIRACY & IMPLIED LIES BY KEEPING SILENT about any wrong imposed on any other.
  • >>> IN THE MEANTIME we have been naming and shaming a number who know of and engage in much more than just approve wrongs imposed on Mr & Mrs Average, the millions of taxpayers, in our allegedly civilised country / state / province / district of the European Union created by politicians, without reference to the taxed for fraud sucker-serfs, allegedly for the benefit of the citizens from FRAUD & CORRUPTION, among other promotions.

Needless to say the case entailed activities and practices by solicitors as Mr Andrew Yiannides was subjected to, decades later, by an old school friend, Mr Kypros Nichola of Nicholas & Co. in London. Mr K. Nichola bluntly abused the trust placed in him and indulged, in tandem with others, in criminal activities intended to cause the damages that were imposed on the targeted 'serf' by accredited - by the Law Society & Bar Council - allegedly Honourable Officers of the Supreme Court, the courts maintained by successive elected governments in the United Kingdom, one of many pseudodemocracies. In due course another revelation relevant to the arrogant 'inherent jurisdiction', through which to deny, obstruct justice & impose all manner of criminally created states on 'the serfs', who are taxed for the cost of maintaining criminals in public office, in pseudo-democracies.

RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STATE OF AFFAIRS, successive irresponsible Lord Chancellors and Home Secretaries who ignored and ignore all complaints and submissions by victims of the organised crimes we point to and expose in our pages, irrespective of the evidence and the law pointed to, by the victims of it all, the citizens who are called upon to pay taxes for the maintenance of criminals in public office.

[*Link from here to our exclusive page, covering confidential fraud as arranged THROUGH THE BEST KEPT OPEN SECRET in alleged democracies, European States. Elsewhere the foundations and corner stone upon which the operatives built the societies of their making using the bricks and mortar we cover in this and other pages. The visitor should not be under any illusion that the stars in the theatrical productions, covered in our pages were by any stretch of the imagination 'humans' who were / are gifted with any attributes that distinguish 'true humans' (>thinkers<) from animals.

Fraud in court  Council staff use Forgeries   Misconduct in Public Office. 2 cases relative to applicable law One Protocol says it ALL It betrays arrogant intentions Law Provides for THEFTS and it covers Judges too Judges' duties   TIME 4 CHANGE   & CHALLENGES Site CONTENTS - Table of Contents & ongoing work Your Rights & OBLIGATIONS to Society SITE SEARCH facility for any specific element / issue of concern to visitors / readers
COURTS : their Facilities Abused For ORGANISED CRIME : FRAUD Solicitor's Perjury & Victim Ignores it all Just like the Law Society always does Blackmailed or is it Just Conditioned & Subjugated Victims who join the club ? We name Lovers of blunt fraud through courts - Users of the facilities 4 illicit gains Local Authorities & FRAUD on 'serfs' the Taxpayers who are kept in the dark Police Party to & Endorsing Criminal Acts, Activities Arrogant Fraud FALSE Records & Contempt of Law by the legal Circles & Public Services The crafty ones & Vexatious Litigant PLOYS for the rewarded silent

* Information FOR victims who wish to co-operate by EXPOSING & CHALLENGING abusers of Public Office *

family.uk-human-rights justiceraped.org dssfraud.htm confraud.htm dadscare.htm contract.htm converts.htm MensAid
solicitorsfromhell.co.uk chancellor.htm theyknow.htm solfraud.htm sheknows.htm 4deceit.htm convicti.htm forward.htm

December 2006 - SUMMONS ISSUED & SERVED IN RESPECT OF FRAUDULENT & RECKLESSLY IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES & IMPOSITIONS THROUGH THE FAMILY COURTS

*Link from here to evidence. *Link also from here to a case when the abusers of the courts' facilities abandoned their plans for another targeted family

IMPORTANT INFORMATION for all victims of malpractice - misconduct - negligence, etc. TO NOTE

In the civil justice system in England and Wales, a judge presides over the proceedings that are argued by the opposing sides through the adversarial process. The process enables the court, judge, to reach a conclusion as to the truth of the facts in dispute. Thereat it is for the judge to apply the law to the facts proven, established at court.

The system as evolved is covered in the page 'English Legal System' and remains the same after the Woolf reforms.

An explicit Affidavit [*L] plus exhibits and
     letters to a Chief Inspector of Police
[*L],
          one to solicitors
[*L] and another to the Lord Chancellor [*L] evince
               ORGANISED CRIMES
(Access and read the letter to the police in September 2006 [*L])

Access & read from one of a number of letters to the Prime Minister : * I believe that New Labour will deliver us from the wrongs we have been suffering for far too long. Use of our resources in terms of human potential and capabilities can and should be channelled through rights not wrongs, through positives not through negatives. It is our produce and ingenuity we can sell to others not the minefields of corrupt and bankrupt public services. * [*Link from here to the page, note the steps taken to ensure the Prime Minister forwarded / delegated submissions and evidence received at 10 Downing Street to the right Minister / Ministry because the submissions were in respect of ORGANISED CRIMES

3rd March 2011 added link [*L] to the BBC-TV Dimbleby Lecture in 1973 as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Robert Mark prepared & presented to the sucker-serfs

...

READERS & RESEARCHERS are urged to access* [*L] one of our introductions to the realities we point to in this page.

hascelc00.htm            KEY  November 1999

Home Affairs - Lord Chancellor's Evidence on Legal Services
Part1: Questions 00 - 59
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In 1998
Ex Minister's Opinions
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The above from Mr Norman Tebbit's column for the Mail on Sunday. One has to ask:  "What did Mr Tebbit do while in government?" 
In 1999 the Lord Chancellor speaks of his plans to the House of Commons Select Committee. Read how thrilled he was when se psoke of the volunteers all eager to engage in theatrical scenarios by assisting victims like the old chap of the case reported by the Daily Mirror on 17th September 1999
May - in METRO
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Mail on Sunday
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£100,000 chasing abducted justice
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and the victims of the experts multiply as NEW ADVOCATES and promoters of theatrical productions who send their victims down the dead end alleys in search of abducted 'Justice' the Goddess when in fact working for and with the abductors and rapists of Justice for MORE OF THE SAME cash under the table.

 

 

 

The PERSONS - List
1. Lord Irvine of Lairg QC
2. Sir Hayden Phillips KCB
3. Mr David Lock MP
4. Chairman
5. Mr Stinchcombe - Barrister
6. Mr Linton
7. Mr Russell - More
8. Mr Chris Malins
9.
Mr Singh
10. Mr Winnick - More
11. Mr Fabricant
12. Mr Dean
13. Mr Howarth
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KEY: Links In & From page
1.First Part of Evidence- Q&A 
2.Persons Taking Part - List
3.The Issues Covered - List
4.Who Asked What - List
5.Other Site-Pages -  List

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abused Legal Aid
1.
Legal Aid Board Informed
2. Minister Informed
3.Submissions to L.A Board
4. National Scandal  & Press
5. O.A.Pensioner Raises Issue
6.
LawyerAdmitsFraud & LAB

7.
LetterFromPrime Minister
8. MP's And The D.S.S Scandal
9. LetterToHome Secretary 
10. Cowboy Layers
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The ISSUES - List
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Community Legal Service  2.Rights & Responsibilities
3. Access To Legal Services
4. C.L.S at Heart of Reforms
5. Legal Aid Not Popular
6. Schools And Hospitals First, NOT LEGAL AID
7. Restrictive Practices &
8. Conditional Fee Agreements
9. C.L.S Is Partnership
10. Assured Legal Work
11. The  Lawyers Not First, But Consumers....
12. Not To Layers Without Experience, Quality Assured
13. Big Estates & Dangers From Staff Coming In And ...
14. Rome Not Built In A Day 
15. Uneven Legal Services
16. Community Legal Service Is A Party Manifesto Commitment
17. Identify Unmet Needs &
18. Pioneer Partnerships Are Monitoring .....
19. Pioneer Areas Are .... 44
20. Referral Networks & Not Bounced From One Box To Another
Bureaucratic Box
21. Agreements entered into by all the partners will .....
22. Enormous Enthusiasm around the country .....
23. The Commitment, MPs, Councillors, Voluntary  Workers, EVERYBODY....
24. Task Force Made Up Of Major Advice Sector Umbrella Bodies
25. Not Completely Off The Top Of Their Heads ....
26. I, With Assistance Of My Department Will Approve By The End Of The Year....
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QUESTIONS Asked - List
1. How Do You see The Community Legal Service?
2.
How Is The C.L.S Going to Monitor ....?
3. Is Department Monitoring
4.
Common Accreditation Scheme .... Who Is Going To Award The Quality Mark?
5. Who Will Award The Quality Marks?
6. Will It Be Clear To The People Exactly Who ...?
7. C.A.B Are Concerned Will Differences Be Respected?
8. What of The Alternative Dispute Resolution?
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Mr.Stitchcombe-Barrister  11.
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Mr. Linton
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Mr Russell
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Mr Howarth                   
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Other Site Pages - List 
1. Use Buttons In Left Margin
2. Use  Contents Button - Top
3. Use Search for Specifics -Top

4. Important The CAMILA Project
5. Important LAW & Introduction

6. Important English LAW Princip.
7. Important Rights & Democracy
8. Important Your Rights In Law

9. Law For Torment & Torture

10. Convetion In Legal
Lawyer Admits Fraud
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undercon.gif (286 bytes) READERS should access the updated pages list from here in order to benefit from important REVELATIONS & EVIDENCE 
This website is under reconstruction and benefiting from ongoing supplemantary material.
Note: Alphanumerics in brackets relate to the Section/number links in the left column. A link from a number takes  you to information in the page. Linked text takes you to other page for fair comment and evidence called for on the issues discussed and raised.
Refer to the text  below for an insight into the work of our Parliament and government. Consider the Lord Chancellor's statements and propositions for and on behalf of the Government.
If your experiences with the legal circles have caused you to be concerned about the use of public funds and or if operations of the Legal Aid Board / Legal Services Commission work, their practices as the challenges evinced in the Affidavit published (*Link) in our pages, act. Use the answers and pronouncements given in evidence by His Lordship, as your guide.
When practices do not match proclamations or the intended (sold to the public) policy, it is for the citizen's to raise issue with the Department responsible for overseeing, supervising and dealing with any 'wrongs', erratic and or questionable activity. Failures to raise the issues amounts to complacency and lead to the establishment and or to the perpetuation of the existing abuses from within, as evinced in cases that we publish in our pages and in Community on Line sites.(E)
Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence
Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1 - 59)

TUESDAY 2 NOVEMBER 1999
THE RT HON THE LORD IRVINE OF LAIRG QC, MR DAVID LOCK MP AND SIR HAYDEN PHILLIPS KCB

Chairman

1. Good morning, Lord Chancellor and Sir Hayden. Thank you for coming to see us. We want to start, if we may, by a canter over the changes and reforms which have been put in place, specifically with the Community Legal Service (CLS). This has the responsibility to assist in the co-ordination of local networks to provide information on legal rights and responsibilities, advice based on a person's individual circumstances and assistance in resolving legal problems. Can you please tell the Committee how you see the Community Legal Service trying to ensure that there is better access to legal services right the way across the country, in other words that we get away from any postcode problems within the Community Legal Service?
  (Lord Irvine) First of all, may I start by congratulating you for having assumed the Chairmanship in place of Chris Mullin. Second, you are absolutely right to focus on the Community Legal Service because it is right at the heart of our reforms. What I should like to do, if I may, is just put it into a larger picture and then come straight back to the Community Legal Service. What is important is to see the whole thing in the round, at any rate as we see it. I would be the first to admit that legal aid has not been the most popular public social service. What my party won the general election on was the proposition and the pledge that we put schools and hospitals first, not legal aid first. What I want to be is brutally frank with the Committee. Legal aid is synonymous in the public's mind with lawyers' bank balances and the public have a vision of restrictive practices, overmanning, overcharging, and, in high cost criminal cases, fees which appear to be grossly high. The big picture about the Access to Justice Act is that it will wipe out restrictive practices once and for all. Second, it will allow legal aid work, where it can be efficiently done in the public interest by the private sector at no cost to the taxpayer, to be done under conditional fee agreements and that of itself will bring millions of people into access to justice for the first time. By this means we intend to free up resources so they can be directed at the real needs of ordinary people in their daily lives. That is where the Community Legal Service comes in. The whole spirit of the Community Legal Service is partnership and it will be partnership arrangements operated locally, underpinned by concordats. So you started right at a core issue. Secondly, to go over as far as possible to contracting, so far as possible at fixed prices, especially for professional lawyers, at fair prices for quality assured legal work for the benefit of consumers. So lawyers are not going to come first but consumers are going to come first. Finally —and this is all I want to say by way of opening—will this make a difference to the overall pattern of provision of legal services? Of course it will; that is what it is all about. The object is to ensure that people know where to go to get the help they need, people are entitled to be assured when the state spends public money on them that it will go on quality assured legal work. A good example of that is when the state funds people's cases say in medical negligence cases. The state should not point them in the direction of a lawyer who does not have the expertise to do the case, they should point them in the direction of people who are quality assured and experienced and capable of taking on the defendants' insurers, lawyers who are highly expert and highly experienced. That is the big picture. It may be that you would like to ask me specific questions about where the Community Legal Service is involved.
2. Yes, may I come to that. What I have in mind are not simply rural areas and inner city areas but what we would call the outer city areas, the big estates on the edge of cities, many left now with no banks, some with post offices gone or under threat, not because of usage but because of danger to staff going in and out of those places. How is the Community Legal Service actually going to monitor what is happening on the ground to identify need and do its best to ensure that this need is met where it is best met, nearest to where people live.
  (Lord Irvine) First of all of course everybody in this room knows that this is a giant new undertaking and everybody knows that Rome was not built in a day. We have a very clear idea of what we want to achieve and how we want to monitor things. Let us start with the "as is". What we have at the moment is a geographically fractured, uneven spread of legal services both provided by professional lawyers and provided by voluntary services who are hugely important across the country. So if a basic initial point, which I think was implicit in what you were saying, is that the geographic spread is not even because places are not even and they all have different needs, then that point is well taken and well appreciated. The second thing I want to say is that the Community Legal Service is a Labour Party manifesto commitment and we are determined to make it succeed. The Community Legal Service is going to be launched nationally in April 2000. What we have started off with is six pioneer areas where there are partnerships which are local networks who are concerned with co-ordinating local funding, finding out what local provision there is and mapping where the present resources are, mapping where they are going and trying to identify unmet need and then addressing questions once you identify where the unmet need is.
3. Is your department doing this monitoring at the moment?
  (Lord Irvine) No, this is being done at the moment by pioneer partnerships. I will tell you about the pioneer partnerships in a second. My department of course has complete oversight of this and what we are going to be doing is producing by April 2000 guidance for the whole country which my department is overseeing, which is drawing from all the experience of these pioneers. I hope you will think the pioneers represent a kind of cross section of the country. The pioneer areas are Cornwall, Kirklees, Liverpool, Norwich, Nottinghamshire and Southwark. These are urban areas, semi-urban areas, rural areas and we are trying to develop models of best practice. There are also associate pioneers and I think these are 44 in number. What are they actually about? Needs assessment first and foremost. Map the existing provision of services. Identify the gaps. Plan how to meet the gaps and, very important, work out referral networks so that people are not bounced when they go along to one place from one bureaucratic box to another so that they just get fed up and grin and bear it. Therefore the point is referral networks. Also we hope that by developing concordats within each relevant area—and these areas do not have to be confined to particular local authority boundaries in particular areas the right answer might be to have networks which straddle these governmental boundaries for just the reasons you were indicating—we hope that the concordats, the agreements which these bodies will enter, which all the partners in the partnerships will enter into, will amount to undertakings each makes to the other so that we have some yardsticks of what each is agreeing to do. You are also really asking me about availability and what we aim to do is to have at least one third of the population—I hope more—but at least one third of the population covered by partnerships by autumn 2000, two thirds of the population by spring 2001 and 90 per cent by the beginning of 2002. One thing is that there is enormous enthusiasm around the country for this. In the various local visits I have made to the voluntary sector and many parts of it, I have been really struck by the enthusiasm, the commitment, MPs, councillors, voluntary workers, everybody on the ground to make a go of this. What is very important is to capitalise on it.
4. I can certainly confirm the enthusiasm for this, especially in the voluntary sector. You have said that a common accreditation scheme is going to anchor the Community Legal Service. Could you tell us please who is going to award the quality mark and monitor the quality of the service provided?
  (Lord Irvine) There is a quality task force. Who are the task force? They are made up of all the major advice sector umbrella bodies. They are made up of the major funding organisations, so they of course involve the local authorities they involve consumer groups, they involve the legal profession. They were set up earlier this year and their objective is to develop criteria for a Community Legal Service quality mark. What they are not doing is doing this completely off the top of their heads. What they are doing is drawing from the many other quality marks there are around which providers find quite confusing and it is going for a uniform quality mark. Consultation on this area, developing this quality mark, ended in October of this year. I hope that before the end of the year proposals for a quality mark will have come to me and I hope that I, with the assistance of my department, and with all the consultation which will have lain behind the proposals which are coming to me, my target for myself is to approve the proposals by the end of the year.
5. Once that is done who would actually award the quality marks?
  (Lord Irvine) As I understand it, the quality marks would be awarded by the quality task force. It may be by the Legal Services Commission when it is up and running and that would probably make sense.[1]
6. Will you make this clear? I presume you are going to have some response to the recommendations and it might be appropriate at that time to make clear to people just exactly when the scheme has been agreed and who is going to do the awarding.
  (Lord Irvine) Yes, it should be made quite clear who is going to do the accrediting, but this quality mark should be a benchmark of quality which should command great confidence because everybody who is really involved on the ground in all this has contributed. I agree that the natural person to accredit would be the Legal Services Commission or some more specialist body within the Legal Services Commission but it will lead to a common approach to standards and it will give funders confidence which is very, very important.
7. We have had some concerns expressed to us by the Citizens' Advice Bureaux who are wholly in favour of this but they have a separate and distinct role, campaigning role. Are there going to be some safeguards to protect the advice sector, including the CAB, in this kind of work as well as that which they will carry on as part of the Community Legal Service? There are differences there, are there not, which should be respected?
  (Lord Irvine) Certainly we respect both the values and the objectives of the voluntary sector. Their co-operation is critical for the success of the Community Legal Service. For example, we respect their free-at-the-point-of-delivery ethic. I entirely recognise that they have a campaigning function and good luck to them, the best of luck to them because their object is to secure better funding for what they do. In all my knowledge of them, they are not short of volunteers. What they want to do however is to have the facilities and the resources to train the willing volunteers to be effective. I have no doubt at all that it is well within the objectives of the Community Legal Service for them to continue their campaigning role. I see no conflict at all.
8. May I take you finally to alternative dispute resolution? A very, very important part of this package in my view. Your department has asked for more information about how this is working out. What are you actually doing to obtain this information? There is a feeling, particularly in the voluntary sector, that there is a lot of scope for this, to resolve people's problems short of going into court.
  (Lord Irvine) As a result of a decision which I made we now of course make legal aid available for mediation. It is very important. We have to keep mediation in proportion. It is very important to encourage it and there are particular areas where it deserves to be so strongly encouraged. One of course is the family area. It is critical there; a great deal can be achieved there. If you were to ask me what the classic area is for promoting mediation, it is in any area where the parties have to have a continuing relationship. Even when people divorce they have a continuing relationship of necessity for the benefit of the children of the marriage. So mediation and when I said a moment or two ago that we must keep mediation in proportion I do not mean by that for a single second that it is not an excellent thing and preferable to a litigated outcome when it can be achieved. What we have done is that we have published a discussion paper on it, we are planning pilot schemes and we are evaluating research in other common law jurisdictions. There has been a pilot in the central London County Court for example. I do not have the figures immediately beside me but a high level of satisfaction was expressed by those who went for mediation and a very low level of people who wanted to go to mediation and maybe it was as low as 11 per cent, but that is off the top of my head. I remember being struck by the small percentage of people who wanted to have anything to do with it, combined with the high percentage of those who were quite pleased with it when they had it. What that shows is that we have to develop information about mediation and that people have to have confidence in mediation and that we have to develop systems for ensuring that mediators are properly accredited. One of the things we have to remember is that if mediation does not turn out to be the kind of panacea we might all like it to be to a greater extent, then all we will actually have done, is created a new costly tier to no advantage. You have to proceed very carefully. Evidence of my own personal commitment to mediation is that I ensure that in the new unified rules for the County Court and the High Court which, as you know, are principally aimed at bearing down on the worst sins of the legal system, cost and delay, I actually paradoxically built in a little bit of delay so as to give an opportunity for mediation. The courts now are willing, even though they are cracking the whip over the parties, to get on with the case at the speed the courts want and not at the speed the parties or their lawyers might want. We still have made provision, basically putting it at its shortest, for a month's adjournment to enable people to give mediation a try.
9. You mentioned the importance of marriage and the family in this. Can you tell us when you are likely to respond to the recommendations of Sir Graham Hart about the implementation of section 22 of the Family Law Act? This is funding for the marriage support agencies and there are many of them awaiting your decision on the recommendations.
  (Lord Irvine) Very, very, very soon is the answer.
10. Before the end of the year?
  (Lord Irvine) Yes; certainly. I have already indicated that I am favourably disposed to this. I have already said that in terms. Across government—again off the top of my head—about £4 million per annum is spent on marriage support and the various agencies, the names of which we all know, but the great majority of that comes from my department, about £3 million. I am hugely in favour of it and there will be a positive response.

Mr Stinchcombe

  11. May I confirm that I have an interest as a barrister? At the Bar Conference in September 1996 you said of legal aid that cost capping "... was unattractive in principle, because legal aid would cease to be a benefit to which a qualifying individual is entitled. It would ... become a discretionary benefit ... that would have to be disallowed when the money ran out, or when another category of case was given preference". Then, during the committee stage of the Access to Justice Bill in December of last year you said "I operate within a controlled budget. The truth is that the only money that is left for civil legal aid is what is left over out of the budget after the requirements of criminal legal aid have been met". Am I right in detecting a degree of tension between those two statements? Have you not caused to occur that which you said three years ago was unattractive in principle?
 (Lord Irvine) First of all, the plain facts of life within which I have to operate, although I could wish that I had a magician's wand to change the plain facts of life, is that criminal legal aid is guaranteed by the state under conventions to which it is party. I do not think that anybody round this table would take the view that if the state takes people to court and they can end up losing their liberty the state does not have to provide them with proper legal services to defend them. I should be very surprised if that were not a principle which we have all accepted. That does not, however, mean that I sit back complacent at overcharging in the criminal defence area. The fact that this is a high priority does not mean that it must have its priority status abused by being milked by lawyers. I have to bear down and you are quite right, very largely for the benefit of the civil legal aid budget, but I had to bear down very, very hard indeed on overcharging on criminal legal aid. Yes, if I fail there will be less money for civil legal aid. These are the facts of life within which I operate. I do not believe that the money is going to run out in any particular year. If that were to happen, then of course I can always go to my Cabinet colleagues and seek further resources. However, it is the duty of every spending Minister to live within his department's means. I think that on the criminal front I will be doing a vast amount. Basically the fact that one per cent of the cases swallow up 42 per cent of the budget is a pretty outrageous statistic to everybody round this table and I am going to bear down very, very hard on high cost criminal cases and the main engine of doing so is going to be contracting. I could give you a great deal of detail about it but perhaps that would not be to follow the course that the Chair has in mind; I do not know. These are my answers to that. I also think that the Community Legal Service, if it succeeds—and I am determined that it should succeed—will make a much more attractive plea to Government for new resources than traditional legal aid has made because of the perception I mentioned at the outset, that traditional legal aid feeds lawyers' bank balances. I started off by saying that conventional legal aid was not the most popular of public social services. The Community Legal Service will increase the popularity of legal aid considerably and these are things that people who have to determine priorities in spending, schools, hospitals, legal aid, have to take into account. I face really quite staggering figures on this. Average payments in civil legal aid rose from £1,875 in 1993-94 to £3,239 in 1998-99, an increase of 73 per cent and the number of people helped fell by 21 per cent; so much more money to help fewer people. A similar pattern shows in crime.
  12. May I press you on a couple of implications of what you have just said? Bearing in mind that in September 1996 you said that cost capping was unattractive in principle, and bearing in mind that the CLS fund is capped, as I understand it—
  (Lord Irvine) It is not capped. It is a controlled budget; I know exactly the means within which I have to live and in fact for the three years of the current spending round I will have available to me to spend more money than our predecessors predicted would be spent on legal aid. This is not a state of affairs which merits the description of cutting but it is a controlled budget and the view of the Government is that I, in common with all spending Ministers, have to live within a controlled budget.
13. Bearing in mind the way in which it is controlled, is it right that if the criminal legal aid budget overruns, the civil legal aid fund must necessarily be squeezed?
  (Lord Irvine) The point is that if I have a given expenditure level, and if any part of it overruns, be it civil or criminal, the other will suffer. It is my job to ensure that they do not overrun. I cannot give any better an answer to you than the ones I have already given, that I intend to bear down firmly through contracting at fixed prices on the criminal legal aid budget and by these means I believe I will bring the criminal legal aid budget down for the benefit of the Community Legal Service. One of the reasons for extending conditional fee agreements to cover all kinds of litigation other than family, is to enable the private sector to undertake at no cost to the taxpayer certain categories of work which we have no doubt it will carry out effectively and so free up resources which would otherwise go on the areas to be covered by conditional fee agreements and allow us to redirect the resources in the direction of the Community Legal Service. You have to see it as part of a plan and not merely look at the antithesis between criminal and civil legal aid.
14. May I press you on one further matter related to that issue? If your attempts to bear down on the CDS fund are not as successful as you anticipate they will be, as I understand it you have stated previously—during the Third Reading of the Act—that there was nothing in the Bill which required an overspend to be made good from the CLS, and that your colleagues would expect you to offset the overspend by making savings elsewhere?
   (Lord Irvine) That is the very first position. That is almost a classic position for the state of affairs that affects a Minister when he is overspending in some area; he is expected to make good an overspend elsewhere. The trick is not to allow the overspend.
15. Bear with me a little while. Given that legal aid represents two thirds of your departmental expenditure, it cannot be likely that the extra funds would be found other than from the CLS if there is overspending by the CDS. Is that not right?
  (Lord Irvine) I can look for savings everywhere but let me be the first to admit to you that I will not have succeeded unless I hold down the Criminal Defence Service budget. I acknowledge that but I am going to do it. Wait and see; wait and see. Let me tell you what we are going to do. In April 2000 we will have the fixed price contracts in the first high cost cases. In April 2000 we shall have new rates for criminal cases. In October 2000 we shall have contracts for criminal defence and advice and assistance in magistrates' courts. You will know that is happening when you hear the squeals from the lawyers. You do not need me to anticipate it. In early 2001, we shall be conducting pilots into salaried defenders. By 2002 all very high cost criminal cases will be subject to contract as far as possible at fixed prices. By 2003 all Crown Court work will be subject to contract. If you want to know what my secret for success is, it is not much of a secret, it is just that lawyers cannot go on living their lives being paid by the hour on a taximeter. We have to contract with them for prices. It is an old-fashioned technique but it works.
16. Does that not mean that whilst you originally said that cost capping was unattractive in principle, in fact you have now come to see certain advantages with cost cutting?
  (Lord Irvine) I think that everything I have been saying has been aimed to persuade you and your colleagues round the table that I do not intend to allow the money to run out for civil legal aid. If that were to happen, then I would be in a certain amount of difficulty, but I can look for savings elsewhere in my department and I can go to my colleagues. What I am doing is just saying to you what any spending Minister taxed with these questions would say. We have to do two things. We have to live within our means according to the priorities the Government have set, which I am afraid did not put legal aid ahead of schools and hospitals—of course I am not really afraid; schools and hospitals do come before legal aid for lawyers. Then it is my job as Lord Chancellor to fight my corner for legal aid with my Cabinet colleagues in the future. However, I have a strong belief that I will be better able to do that if I make a real go of the Community Legal Service.

Mr Linton

17. I wanted to come onto the question of funding by local authorities. During the Access to Justice Bill committee stage, you set your face against a clause that would oblige local authorities to contribute. I represent an area, Wandsworth, where the local authority still does not give any money to its local law centre, although it does of course contribute to advice agencies. Can you explain to the Committee what will happen if there is a local authority which refuses to get involved in a CLS partnership or provides inadequate funding?
  (Lord Irvine) That is a very good question and it is one to which I give a lot of thought myself. Let me just tell you about a decision of principle that we took. You could of course have sought—I would have needed the agreement of my colleagues in Government to it—at the time of the Access to Justice Bill to put a statutory duty on all local authorities. We took a decision not to do so. That is not to say such a decision might not be taken sometime in the future. We took a decision not to do so for the very good reason that to develop a Community Legal Service really required wide ranging Cupertino which I tried to describe to you on a voluntary basis. The view was taken that we would get off on a very, very wrong note if we imposed a statutory duty because we would not get these co-operative standing arrangements in place. We would not get a Community Legal Service which would be a kind of model for what joined-up government means if we started it under the lash of a statutory financial duty. I would hope that local authorities will do what most of us would regard as their duty and if they fail to do so then perhaps electors at the right time would draw the appropriate conclusions. You do in fact focus attention on what is a very serious issue: where does the advice sector get its funding? They will all tell you, and they will be right, that they are precariously funded. I think the Legal Aid Board provides about £80 million a year, the local authorities up and down the country provide about £130 million to CABs, to law centres and the like. There are central government grants of about £20 million, mainly to NACAB and to Shelter. The National Lotteries Charities Board makes £33 million available. The London boroughs' grants amount to £28 million and this of course is to look at it from government, not from charitable sources.[2] There is no doubt at all that what is really needed is a crusade to persuade local authorities to do more. That is where, if I dare say it in this room, local MPs and local councillors come in. We are really trying as hard as we can to harness enthusiasm for this project which I was pleased to hear the Chair acknowledge he is very conscious of from his own experience.
   18. We will happily join you in the crusade. What if at the end of the day there are unacceptable geographical differences in the provision of CLS? Will you then reconsider using compulsion?
   (Lord Irvine) Yes; yes, I would, certainly. However, it is not for me alone. Let me tell you a graphic conversation I had recently in a tremendously well run and impressive CAB. They were telling me about how so much of their work was with people who got into debt. I asked how much good they did once they were able to help. They said quite honestly a fantastic amount of good. I remember the conversation. You do one of two things if you are in real debt: you either reschedule the debts or you go bankrupt which is what it comes to. Their record of success apparently in this particular CAB—and I was completely convinced by them—in rescheduling people was absolutely superb. In a sense it is not all that surprising because we are talking about people of very ordinary means and the creditors get nothing out of bankruptcy. You are far better to have a rescheduling of debt. They told me quite dramatically that if they advertised the debt service they provided in the local press they would be swamped with takers and they would not be able to undertake the work. But they did undertake the work that came in the door so effectively. I think that is a graphic example of what we are talking about.

Mr Russell 

19. The civil legal aid, the green form that people on the lowest incomes fill in. As I understand it full legal aid is provided to those people who pass a means test and a merits test. Does that also apply to people who may be on low incomes but have capital?
  (Mr Lock) As I understand matters, there is a limit of £6,750 on capital. I am not quite sure how the contribution system works but obviously the more capital you have the more contributions you are expected to make.
20. Who polices those who make the applications, that they are legitimate applications.
  (Mr Lock) Both the applicant themselves and the solicitor have a duty to provide the Legal Aid Board with a full disclosure of the applicant's financial position. There are occasions when the other party to the litigation will challenge that and make representations on behalf of the other party that the legally aided party has other capital, has other resources, has other income. Obviously at that point they will be investigated. It is fair to say that a reasonably high proportion—I am afraid I cannot give you an exact proportion but a very high proportion—of those who are investigated when an allegation is made of the legally aided party not being entitled on means grounds, end up with the legal aid certificate being discharged.
21. What about those cases prior to litigation or in fact which never get to litigation in the early stages where legal aid may have been provided? How is the policing done? Is there any system whereby people can check on whether somebody is in fact in receipt of legal aid? Is there a public register, a public disclosure?
   (Mr Lock) No.
   (Lord Irvine) No. You are now on litigation and there is a legal aid certificate which will be lodged with the court and I do not think there is any problem in defendants' solicitors knowing that a party is legally aided.
22. With respect, you are two jumps ahead. I am talking about prior to litigation where a case may not get to court, where one of the parties may seek legal aid, gets legal aid and then the solicitor's letter does the trick in their opinion. Is there any public register which states that Bloggs got legal advice from solicitor X?
  (Lord Irvine) I think not. It only arises at the point talked about. Let me say, very often in practice this may not be the problem you think it is. People do not normally suppress the fact that they have legal aid; they boast about it from the roof tops because they think that it increases their bargaining muscle. The first thing that a solicitor who got legal aid for his client to bring certain proceedings would do would be to write and tell the other solicitor that that was so, because he is now funded and can go forward. I think the problem may be the other way round.
23. May I suggest then that you ought to consider having a public register from day one when a person is in receipt of legal aid? I could suggest to you that there may be occasions when people are getting legal aid in order to make the point they wish to make when they are not entitled to legal aid.
  (Lord Irvine) I shall certainly consider it. What is the objective?
24. I am suggesting that it is possible for somebody to use the legal aid system. You are trying to cut down on unnecessary legal expenditure and we all agree with that. I am suggesting to you that it is possible for somebody to make use of the legal aid system to which they are not legally entitled in order that just a threatening letter arrives at the next-door neighbour's about a dispute. This happens. I would suggest to you that all MPs are aware of neighbour disputes where lawyers are involved.
  (Lord Irvine) I am certainly content to think about it. Quite honestly I can see advantages and we can all see disadvantages as well.

Mr Howarth

  25. In answer to Mr Stinchcombe's first point, I was not quite clear whether you were saying that the way in which you were going to deal with the whole question of avoiding capping was to clamp down on defence costs. May I repeat the point Mr Stinchcombe made which was that in 1996 as shadow Lord Chancellor you were of the view that cost-capping was unattractive in principle, yet three years later you said you operate as Lord Chancellor within a controlled budget. Were you aware that you would have a controlled budget when you were shadow Lord Chancellor?
  (Lord Irvine) We have come to our spending decisions collectively within government. The significance that I was attaching to cost-capping in that speech to which you are referring is that I was using that as a synonym for money running out so that there would be no funding for a meritorious civil legal aid case. I regard it as my duty to prevent that happening and I predict I will achieve it. Therefore the mischief which I feared, namely a meritorious case not gaining the support that it deserves, will not happen. We can bandy words about like cost-capping and controlled budgets and so on but the objective is to see that all meritorious cases go forward.
26. You were not trying to suggest as shadow Lord Chancellor that were you to be favoured with the job in Government, there would be no capping and that you would make sure that the funds were there, notwithstanding of course that the Chancellor would have control over your budget.
  (Lord Irvine) In all my wildest dreams about this office, I never thought it would give me a licence to print money.
27. So you were not attempting to mislead people?
  (Lord Irvine) Of course not.
28. Can we move now to the question of contracting and also to conditional fee arrangements, both of which we discussed last year? If we deal with contracting first, since 1994 the Legal Aid Board has developed a voluntary contracting scheme called franchising. Under this arrangement, as I understand it, specific firms contract to provide legal aid. The question has arisen as to whether or not this system is denying litigants choice. How would you respond to that?
   (Lord Irvine) First of all, I have to make what I really believe is a very, very fundamental point and that is to ask you to focus on one of the major sins of conventional legal aid. Traditionally under legal aid, if you had suffered the severest form of medical injuries that you can imagine, you could wander in to any solicitor's firm in the country and if you qualified for legal aid then that solicitor could take your case through from beginning to end regardless of his competence or expertise to do so. That is really a very fundamental point. The whole point about franchising and contracting is to do so with lawyers who are quality assured. I do not think any person in this country would thank the state for pointing him or her in the direction of a lawyer who does not have the skill to do the job. If going over to skilled lawyers only means that there is less choice numerically, it is a far, far better choice for individuals to have only quality assured lawyers to choose from and that is my fundamental response to the question of principle.
29. What would you say for example about rural areas where maybe both sides to an action would have access to the same firm of quality assured and contracted lawyers? Do you think that would be a problem?
   (Lord Irvine) No, we will ensure that there are arrangements in place which always—I repeat always—give a real choice.
30. In terms of monitoring this arrangement, are you satisfied that it is working well? What measures are in hand to ensure the monitoring of the quality to which you rightly attach great importance?
   (Lord Irvine) It is the Legal Aid Board's job to set franchising criteria and to see that they are adhered to. The whole name of the new game is quality assurance. We all know that. If you have a medical negligence case then you will only be pointed in the direction of someone on a panel of lawyers who are quality assured.
   (Sir Hayden Phillips) Concerns were put to you and put to us about the fact that low numbers might be coming forward. The actual numbers coming forward to apply for contracts are very high. We expect about 5,500 in April and we expect to build that up over time to about 10,000 in the year beyond, 50 per cent of which we hope will be in the not for profit sector. This will be quite a dramatic change in the provision that is available, the different types of provision and you have made it clear. We are very conscious of the position in rural areas where we have to pay particular attention to that.
  (Lord Irvine) I have just looked up the basic facts. In the civil and family advice and assistance area, we expect there to be about 5,500 solicitors' contracts in place in January 2000 with about 350 to 400 contracts with the not for profit agencies. Then, if you take family certificated work say, which broadly speaking means representation in the family area, 5,500 contracts. Then if you take non family civil certificated work, I cannot give exact figures but the supply base is going to be around 5,000 or 5,500. I do not really see any general problem.
31. You have answered the question as to the availability. What I was also seeking to establish was the question of monitoring of that very quality to which you attach such importance. Are you saying in answer to me that it is the job of the Legal Aid Board to monitor these contracts? If so, how is it going?
  (Lord Irvine) The Legal Services Commission is under a duty to monitor quality. I have to submit every year to Parliament under the Access to Justice Act an annual report and I can absolutely assure you that it will deal thoroughly with the monitoring of quality.
32. In terms of those firms which failed to secure a franchise you told us last year that the Legal Aid Board proposed to set up a franchise appeal body which will comprise a member of the Board, a solicitor and a representative from a quality assurance organisation. Has that been done or perhaps there has not been the need to provide that because there has not been the level of complaints which were originally envisaged?
  (Lord Irvine) I know that there is an internal appeal mechanism within the Legal Aid Board. I believe that it is to a discreet and different body of persons within the Legal Aid Board. I do not think it is to an outside body. If anything I have just said in that answer is inaccurate, I shall write to you.[3] If I do not write to you it is because it is, as I hope it is, completely accurate.
33. It will not be because it was lost in the post?
  (Lord Irvine) Not at all because of loss of face. If I have given you any wrong information I would want ... Oh, loss of post. I can contemplate loss of post. I cannot really contemplate anything other than that.
34. Lord Thomas of Gresford did suggest in another place that there was concern that block contracting could provide an opportunity for large litigants to ambush cases and therefore exhaust the funds. What is your response to his concerns?
  (Lord Irvine) I have said many, many times in Parliament that I do not really recognise his concerns. I do understand people who are concerned about small high street solicitors who feel that they miss out under an arrangement which goes over to an insistence, for the benefit of the consumer, on quality assurance. I have given you the numbers of contracts which seem to me to be very, very large. Wherever any of these rival considerations arise, legal aid does not exist for the benefit of lawyers, legal aid does not exist in order to guarantee a living for lawyers in the same structures and the same organisations with the same size of firms as they had before. The consumer has to come first.
35. Is there a danger, if block contracts were awarded on the basis of specified numbers of cases, that lawyers could thereby cherrypick the cases?
  (Lord Irvine) No, the principle of block contracting is not that the lawyers can cherrypick the cases that they do, but under the contracts, very sensibly, they will be given a capacity broadly speaking of the cases in the particular categories that they can undertake under the contract. The Legal Services Commission would not be very efficient if it gave more contractual capacity to contractors than they could efficiently do. There is a relationship between quality and the capacity to undertake work to the requisite quality.
36. Moving to conditional fee arrangements, one of the concerns which was raised was that there would not be sufficient insurance policies and companies offering insurance policies to deal with the problem. You told us a year ago that a large number of personal injury cases had gone forward under conditional fee arrangements. You said you had seen a figure of 47,000 in relation to the work of a single insurer alone.
  (Lord Irvine) That is right.
37. Can you tell us how things have improved? You told us that you could not specify the names of the companies for reasons of commercial confidentiality. Are you satisfied there is now a sufficiently large pool of firms offering insurance?
  (Lord Irvine) Yes, I am and the very best point to make is that when certain legal interests argue that conditional fee agreements will not work because lawyers share in the benefits of winning as well as the risk of losing, we have to remind ourselves that in practice solicitors working for trade unions have been operating what amounts to a conditional fee arrangement for years and years and years without even the benefit of any success fee. They do not charge their client trade union when they lose cases. They get their ordinary fees when they win and they run a profitable business. That is just well known. That is why these big trade union solicitors came out in favour of my consultation paper as soon as I made the proposal about conditional fee agreements and they knew that they can run profitable businesses without any success fee. I just cannot begin to accept that other competent legal firms cannot work profitably with conditional fee agreements, with a success fee. Do not forget that under the Access to Justice Act we have made two important changes, that the success and insurance premium can be recovered from the defendant who loses. The uplift and the cost does not come out of the plaintiff's damages. He or she gets the full damages to which they are entitled and the right person pays at the end of the day, the person who in a negligence case has negligently caused the damage. I would not have gone down this road unless I had a very considerable confidence which I believe will be proved that this regime will work.
38. What evaluation have you made of the performance so far, bearing in mind that conditional fees have been in existence now since 1995?
  (Lord Irvine) Everything that we know and learn from all the sources available to us is that they work admirably.
39. Is there a formal mechanism for evaluating the performance or is it just a question of what information comes to your attention?
  (Lord Irvine) I do not really know what the formal mechanism would be. The record of success, for example, of these trade union firms which operate on this basis in personal injury cases which fight, which is as good evidence as any, is 90 per cent I am told, but anyway an extraordinarily high proportion of them succeed. Therefore it is perfectly obvious on the basis of that information alone to my mind that this is a winning route. We have been very careful, however, not to take medical negligence cases out of legal aid pro tem. We have been very, very careful to stipulate that high cost investigative cases ... I believe the market can bear these perfectly well but we have been careful to ensure that legal aid continues for this class of case. I have to say that if we ever did reach a situation, which I confidently believe we never will, that CFAs did not work in this area, then the powers are available to bring them back into the scope of legal aid. I confidently believe that this is one area of policy which will triumphantly succeed.
40. Started of course under a Conservative Government, as you were about to point out. One final point on conditional fee arrangements. There has been some suggestion that those seeking to avail themselves of this facility do not fully understand the implications of what is involved, notwithstanding the high success rate of which you speak. The Consumers' Association, for example, has expressed concern. They have told us the terms of conditional fee arrangements are extremely complex and it is doubtful that many clients understand what they are agreeing to.
  (Lord Irvine) This is a very, very legitimate concern. This is something in which my officials and I believe; there is correspondence which I have also had with the solicitors' profession. It is absolutely critical that all litigants under conditional fee agreements are fully informed of the terms of the conditional fee agreement, the risks and so on. I have that well in hand. Also, if I had any real concerns about it, I can impose rules.

Mr Malins

41. I must declare an interest as a solicitor and also I sit judicially.
  (Lord Irvine) Of course you do.
42. May I ask you a little bit about the Criminal Defence Service, salaried defenders? An attractive idea in some ways; undoubtedly saving money. Do you see though that there is some risk of a downside in terms of more plea bargaining, more collusion between defence and prosecution lawyers, perhaps a lack of independence felt by the salaried defender? Do you see any problems in that area?
  (Lord Irvine) I really do not. I have to say that I did not feel able to put much weight on propositions I heard in debate that somehow or other, if you worked in the private sector your ethics could be taken for granted but suddenly if you became an employed lawyer your professional ethics went out of the window. I just do not believe it. I think it is an insult to employed lawyers to suggest that that is so. In fact, as we all know from practice, there are some barristers, almost all of whose work comes from the Crown Prosecution Service and we do not say because of that that they are ethically at risk because, as is true, the Crown Prosecution Service could get fed up with them tomorrow and pull their practice from under their feet. It is perfectly possible to suppose that a body of salaried defenders who would be subject to a code which we provided for in the Access to Justice Act, and the salaried defenders are not to be answerable to administrative heads but are to be answerable to the head of the department of salaried defence lawyers, is absolutely as secure a base for being confident in the maintenance of ethical standards, as in private practice where people's practices are confined very often either to one or to a tiny number of suppliers of work for them.
43. If we are moving down that line, in a few years' time what sort of proportion of defender work would you be happy to see in salaried defenders' hands? Might it be 60 per cent or 70 per cent? One is guessing a bit of course but will it be a lot?
  (Lord Irvine) I do not see anything like that. I would be very, very surprised if in the foreseeable future the majority of defence work did not continue to be undertaken by solicitors or barristers in private practice.
44. Obviously we all agree, including the lawyers, of the need to keep criminal legal aid under control. Are you making any studies at the moment, given that the Crown Court costs about £8,000 a day, much more expensive than the lower courts, on whether some money might be saved by, say, increasing the jurisdiction of the stipendiary bench to a couple a years? Not quite like the old quarter sessions but some mechanism to increase jurisdiction of lower courts to keep some of the cases away from the Crown Courts.
  (Lord Irvine) One policy on which we have already settled will have that effect. I was just thinking about the generality of the question and then a particular answer occurred to me. The general answer is yes, we will keep that in mind. The particular answer is, since we are taking away the right of defendants in either cases to choose whether they have a jury trial or trial in a Magistrates' Court and I think it is absolutely right to do that because in no other country with which I am familiar can the defendant choose his own mode of trial, the court will choose for him. So the Magistrates' Court will choose, subject to a right of appeal to the Crown Court. You and I know perfectly well that will lead to a reduction in business for the Crown Court and an increase in business for the Magistrates' Court. That is a perfectly good thing. As your question suggests: should we think about it more? Yes.

Mr Singh

  45. May I ask a couple of questions about the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS)? Last year you told us that you were suspending judgement on that body until the report of the Legal Services Ombudsman in 1999. That report was published in June and was extremely critical of that organisation, saying that complaints had spiralled out of control, the OSS had failed to deliver against its own standards and targets, that there was a backlog of 17,000 cases and the Ombudsman said that she remained "... sceptical that the Law Society has a commitment and the determination necessary to put its own house in order". Under the Access to Justice Act you have made provision if necessary to appoint an independent commissioner. How bad do things have to get before you activate that clause?
  (Lord Irvine) Let me tell you first of all how bad or good or better things are at the moment. You are quite right to remind me what I said a year ago. It is an area of enormous concern and there is an appallingly bad record in the background and I would not dream of concealing it from you. Let me tell you what the Law Society has told me that it intends to do. I will be looking very carefully to see whether this is achieved. They have agreed to implement the findings of consultants Ernst & Young. In July I wrote the Law Society and I warned them that if the OSS, the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors, which is funded by the Law Society, did not end up in a position in which they processed 90 per cent of the complaints within three months and 100 per cent within five and if other interim targets were not met then I would appoint a Legal Services Complaints Commissioner. That falls short of statutory regulation because we want these professions to be self-regulating if they possibly can, provided that the interests of their clients are properly protected. The Legal Services Complaints Commission with a power to set standards for complaints performance and the power to impose hefty fines if not. I am told, but you must understand that I can only tell you what I am told, that as at September the backlog of unresolved complaints was about 16,500—a heck of a number—but that is roughly 1,600 fewer than had been previously projected. If that is right, so far so good. Incidentally, they have had an enormously poor administrative record and the director was recently suspended and resigned. It is not at present a happy ship. The Ombudsman is satisfied with the handling of complaints only in about 64 per cent of cases; that is not exactly a very high figure. I said that I would not begin to consider accepting any decrease in excess of £1,000. I have also said that the compensation limit has to go up to £5,000 and that will happen. If you want to know incidentally, the Bar has a very, very much better record and she found 92 per cent of the Bar Council's investigations conducted in a way that she was satisfied with. However, there are real problems with the solicitors. I think that there is a cultural problem really and that client care has to feature more in their handling of complaints. It really is that solicitors know all about litigation and when their clients complain and they get into conflict with their own clients, they treat it as litigation by other means. They treat it as an extension of litigation whereas very often a more conciliatory and a more self-aware approach would deliver the goods very, very much better. I have not shrunk from telling the Law Society that, but in the familiar language, the jury is out on it.
46. Given the changes which are happening to the legal service, the Community Legal Service, the partnerships with advice agencies, salaried defenders, do you not think there is a case anyway for an independent commissioner to be appointed?
  (Lord Irvine) I think that it is too early to come to that conclusion, but it is by no means excluded.
47. Who would monitor the Community Legal Service? If you had a complaint about the service you received, to whom would you complain?
   (Lord Irvine) It would depend whom your complaint was against. Of course I entirely agree with you—I think this is what you are implying—if the complaint was against a solicitor who is providing services under the Community Legal Service, what I have said to you about complaints handling as at present does not fill you with cheer and confidence. Well it does not fill me with cheer and confidence either. The truth is that the Law Society knows perfectly well that this really is its last chance. I cannot be any clearer than that.

Mr Winnick

48. Have you given further consideration to a judicial appointments commission? You said last time, if I may remind you, that you did not rule it out in the future. As a party you made reference earlier on to our various election pledges. We did say, did we not, that we were going to have a judicial appointments commission?
  (Lord Irvine) No. Just for the record, there is no manifesto commitment to a judicial appointments commission.
49. We said we intended to have one.
  (Lord Irvine) No.

Mr Russell

50. You did in Walsall.
  (Lord Irvine) In this case I cannot say you will always get it right in Walsall. It was at one time part of Labour Party policy. All I am saying is that it is not a manifesto commitment. I told you last time that I have not excluded a judicial appointments commission. About to report to me, and I do not quite know when I am going to get his report, but I would hope pretty soon, probably within no more than a month ... I appointed some time ago Sir Leonard Peach, the former Commissioner for Public Appointments, to investigate the whole range of appointments, the criteria, how it is assessed whether people measure up to the criteria, the fairness of it, how grievances are dealt with. There is a very, very thoroughgoing inquiry going on; I believe coming to fruition. His report will be published and we will have to take it from there. I do not really want to say anything unless you want to press me on the merits because I do not want it said that I prejudged anything that Sir Leonard is going to say in his report to me. It is though an area of my department's work which I pay a vast amount of personal attention to. I do it in relation to all the judicial appointments, the silks' appointments and appointments at a lower level. I devote a very, very great amount of time personally to ensuring that there is no unfairness or any kind of discrimination in the system. However, Sir Leonard is an expert in this area and I look forward to hearing what he tells me. What you should know is that we have opened the books to him. We have a vast number of files with comments and everything else. The whole thing is an open book to him.

Mr Winnick

51. I appreciate what you have just said and I am glad that Sir Leonard is in fact conducting this inquiry. It is more a question, is it not, of how appointments are made rather than who makes them? Would that be a fair distinction between what he is looking at and the question of who decides on appointments?
   (Lord Irvine) There is some kind of distinction, which I do not really find very convincing to be frank, in his terms of reference about how the appointments are made and who makes them. Basically the reality is that he is going to be looking at the whole machinery as a result of which particular appointments emerge. He is going to be looking at the applications, he is going to be looking at the criteria against which the applications are assessed, he is going to be looking at how a sifting process is conducted, he is going to be looking where there are interviews at how the interviews are conducted. There is literally nothing which he is not going to be looking at.
52. Do you have any idea when he is due to report?
  (Lord Irvine) I had rather hoped he might be ready to report to me by now, but I always think that you are better to get a job thoroughly done rather than to get it done in a great hurry. I should be astonished if I do not have his report in six weeks.
53. As the matter stands at present, and of course this is why, if not an election pledge, it was part of our policy as I understood it and I take into account your correction of what I said at the beginning, the position of appointments involves, does it not, a number of your officials? I do not know whether this is an exaggeration but it is said that some 100 officials in your department are responsible for building up information and a dossier for you to see on who should be appointed. Would that be a fair account?
  (Lord Irvine) It is not of who should be appointed. Let me tell you that I think this is one of the best things about the work of my department. It is absolutely scrupulous. So far is this from secret soundings that all the consultees are known. Everybody knows who the consultees are and I do not know of any walk of life where you seek promotion without references being taken up. What these records show is continuous assessment year after year of the quality of individuals by the judges in front of whom they appear and also by leaders of the profession.
54. That is information passed to your department?
  (Lord Irvine) Yes, but not just information passed to my department, information which my department goes out and seeks and gets. We promote it. We do not sit passively waiting for it to come in. We seek it. It is a major job of my department to ensure that we are fully informed of the continuous assessment of people who are going to be candidates for something which is terribly important: judicial appointments.
55. Hoping all the time that those comments by judges are as unbiased as possible.
  (Sir Hayden Phillips) May I make one point there, lest the impression is given that it is the department and only the department who do the work? The vast majority of judicial appointments are made as a result of open competition and application. Those people coming forward are all sifted and interviewed, not just by officials but by other outsiders joining in.
  (Lord Irvine) That is right.
56. Are you referring to the highest judicial appointments?
  (Sir Hayden Phillips) No, I am talking about the vast majority.
 (Lord Irvine) No, no we are referring to assistant recorders, district judges, deputy district judges, circuit judges.  
57. High Court judges?
  (Lord Irvine) No, you are pressing me on those who are not subject to interview but in fairness what I am saying to you is that the overwhelming majority of judicial appointments are subject to open competition, application and interviews with lay assessors present. It is perfectly true. I have opened up High Court appointments to application. I did that for the first time. We do not as yet have interviews for High Court judges. What Sir Hayden was seeking to get on the record he is absolutely right to do.
58. Lower down the scale; yes?
  (Lord Irvine) Lower down, yes, but the overwhelming majority of appointments.
59. May I just say that I accept entirely—and I am sure all members of the Committee do—that you are trying, perhaps much more so than previous occupants of your office, to bring about changes whereby gender is more broadly based in judicial appointments as well as ethnic minorities?
  (Lord Irvine) It is good of you to say so, but it is true that I am trying very hard.
FOOTNOTE
1   Note by witness: The Quality Mark will be awarded by the Legal Services Commission. The Commission will also have the power to accredit others to award the Quality Mark. Back
2   Note by witness: In six rounds of funding, the National Lotteries Charities Board has provided £33 million for services with at least an element of advice work. The London Boroughs' grants are distributed to approximately 650 voluntary organisations, around half of which have some involvement in providing advice services. Back
3   Note by witness: I was correct to say that appeals are heard by a panel of persons within the Legal Aid Board, rather than by an outside body. However, the panel does include an external representative. The panel comprises a non-executive member of the Legal Aid Board and a senior member of the Board's personnel. Where the appeal is from a profit-making organisation, such as a solicitors's firm, a nominee of the Law Society also sits on the panel. Where the appeal is from a not-for-profit organisation, the Advice Service Alliance nominates a representative. Back
© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 8 December 1999
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The creator of this website was inviting victims to access URrights & join him there with other victims to expose & challenge abusers of trust & public office until the providers of the facilities >ning.com< introduced new terms and conditions for the provision of the facilities. Access from here and read of the imposed states by the brains behind ning.com and consider only one element "WHY OBSTRUCT & HINDER THE DOWNLOAD of the existing material at URrights.ning.com >the intellectual properties of the creator of that presence on the Internet and those who joined him there? Read below of the unacceptable conduct and behaviour by the reckless abusers of trust, who set out to obstruct and blackmail the creator of URrights.ning

Persons who are genuinely concerned and object to the ways they were / are being treated by alleged servants of the publicand the law >in any PSEUDOdemocracy, or whatever states / conditions they are subjected to< by abusers of public facilities and public office >as we cover in our web-pages< should contact webmaster@human-rights.org for information relevant to the creation of similar facilities for INFOrmation on URrights, for facilities for URrights EUrope and for a NETwork of URrights activists.

  • APOLOGIES to friends and persons who could not access URrights following the recent changes by the providers of the facility (ning.com) Andrew Yiannides created and used the portal to create the presence on the Internet for the group of victims / challengers who joined with him to expose and challenge the arrogant and blunt abuse of public services in all allegedly civilised societies > PSEUDODEMOCRACIES <.

  • The changes related to the introduction of charges for the facilities, included the facility for ning.com to archive the material at URrights; also the facility to download the archived material to the creator's system (computer) while the creator and his group of friends considered which of the level of charges and service the group was to adopt.

  • HOWEVER the creator, Andrew Yiannides, WAS UNABLE TO DOWNLOAD THE ARCHIVED MATERIAL and all attempts to engage the providers and their staff in reasonable explanation as to WHY THE FAILURES TO CONNECT / DOWNLOAD from the ning.com servers THE ARCHIVED MATERIAL, were contemptuously ignored.

  • Emails to the Publicity, to the Promotion, to the Public Relations, also to the Chief Executive's Office merited no response whatsoever from anyone acting for ning.com

  • In the circumstances Andrew will appreciate any information related to the problems covered above. Andrew will also appreciate any information relative to exchanges with or email postings, from ning.com to existing members.

  • EXISTING URrights members, victims of the legal system, victims of solicitors and the courts should access the updated pages at .org/solicitors.htm and .org/solfraud.htm by using the links from the list below.

Below pages where we expose known lovers of it all, users and maintenance engineers of the system as is

.org/1999dfax.htm .org/1ofmany.htm .org/2lipstalk.htm .org/4deceit.htm .org/absolute.htm .org/abusers.htm
.org/account4.htm .org/actors.htm .org/actors2.htm .org/adoko.htm .org/bankers.htm .org/beware.htm
.org/blunket1.htm .org/chaldep1.htm .org/confraud.htm .org/contract.htm .org/convicti.htm .org/courts.htm
.org/corruptcourts.htm .org/crimesin.htm .org/dreamers.htm .org/evesused.htm .org/evilones.htm .org/famfraud.htm
.org/govolso.htm .org/guesswhy.htm .org/len.htm .org/mauricek.htm .org/media.htm .org/solfraud.htm
.org/solicitors.htm .org/someplan.htm .org/someploy.htm .org/thefacts.htm .org/theproof.htm .org/thenerve.htm
.org/twisted.htm .org/uaccount.htm .org/ukmm.htm .org/uwatchit.htm .org/watchit1.htm .org/yourtax.htm
  • Every single person we name and expose in the above pages elected to ignore THEIR OBLIGATIONS TO REPORT (to 'the serfs' = 'the taxpayers'), THE ABUSERS OF PUBLIC OFFICE & PUBLIC FACILITIES. All were/are relying on the Intellectual Prostitutes, from within the media, to keep it all in the family closet.
  • All, as typical twin-tongue hypocrites carry on complaining about the media for failing to report & for suppressing the facts and the realities they allegdely reported to the hard of hearing, to the otherwise committed angels blowing their silent trumpets for decades, all ready and gearing to welcome the expansion of the New World Order.
  • Of such parts the contributions from and failings of the persons we name and expose, AS IF THEIR OWN SILENCE, THEIR FAILURES  & THEIR BLUNT OBSTRUCTIONS to the work and other actions by the creator of this website, Andrew Yiannides, treated by one and all as if non-existent with the exception when the wily Norman Scarth, set off to abuse the trust he was allowed to benefit from, while his parts and questionable activities / performance were under scrutiny, specifically after HE FAILED to publish the full transcript of the Court of Appeal hearing HE WAS ALLOWED TO RECORD* [*Link from here to the food for thought page created by Andrew Yiannides, in the first instance].
  • Not one ever bothered to address the issues we expose in the explicit page, despite the fact that we have been pointing all of our contacts, since May 1992, to it all.
  • Visitors, readers and researchers are urged / invited to access and read the letter which the Hon. Secretary of the Litigants In Person Society, Mr. Norman Scarth sent to the founder of human-rights, Mr. Andrew Yiannides, reproduced in the page .org/4deceit.htm* [*L]
  • The author's statements, such as 'what for and why seek additional assistance', thereby spelling out his parts as a lover of it all.
  • Common sense dictates, that he should have directed his request to his partners in deceptions aplenty, one & all engaging in fraudulent misrepresentations AND NOTED TO HAVE, WILFULLY, BEEN SUPPRESSING, FROM THE TAXPAYERS, THE FACTS OF LIFE RELATIVE TO THE RAMPANT ABUSE OF THE COURTS FACILITIES as the failure of all to co-operate as covered and pointed to at:- [*L]. One and all fallen to the facilities for fraud aplenty on the taxpayers and the corruption of illiterates in law, the conditioned victims of the legal circles & courts who fall to the blackmail element attached to the REWARD for keeping the realities away from the taxpayers; just like the media and the Ministers responsible for the application of long existing law to the criminal activities we cover in our pages, do.
  • All the while one and all were / are engaging in the scenarios we cover in the exclusive page, which page the author of the letter which Mr Norman Scarth sent to Andrew Yiannides, afforded us the opportunity to address the issue of the contributions of his partners and affiliates in fraud aplenty on the taxpayers; despite the reminder one and all, named in the new page simply shoved it all in the dark corners of their devoid of grey matter skulls, their perverted / corrupted mind(s)

> MOST IMPORTANT <
On Sunday morning, the 19th September 2010, the Deputy Prime Minister, leader of the Liberal-Democrats in the course of the BBC TV politics programme, spoke of the coalition government's commitment to address the element of waste and fraud through the public services sector. We trust and hope that the elements we expose in our pages and the parts adopted by the conditioned victims of the legal circles, the persons who engage in PROMOTING & EXPANDING THE ONGOING CONSTRUCTIVE FRAUD ON THE TAXPAYERS, THROUGH ABUSE OF THE COURTS' FACILITIES, will be on the top of the list of government priorities.
Visitors, readers & researchers are urged to access the letters to Minister Frank Field [*L] after he had been directed by the Prime Minister to think/do the unthinkable.
Link also from here [*L] to the explicit letter to the Home Secretary in December 1998 with submissions arising out of the RAMPANT HOUSING BENEFIT FRAUD
On Tuesday 23rd November 2010, 'the Guardian' in its Comment & Debate page carried an article by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister. In the evening of the same day the Deputy Prime Minister addressed a large audience at Kings place in respect of the government's changes on university students fees / loans.
Access from here the page where we reproduce an image of 'the Guardian' article & consider the simple fact that we, alone, have been asserting and proclaiming our objections to the theft of funds from the national budget leading to the ever-increasing annual deficit in the state's balance of payments.

ACCESS:  http://www.justice-uk.human-rights.org/ (For an important message at this Community-on-Line web-site) & thereafter,
Access also http://www.law.society.complaints.and.human-rights.org/ (Judge instigates Fraud On Tax Payers - he knows not the difference between 'imposed' & 'no undue influence'). APOLOGIES FOR THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THIS WEBSITE.It appears that the beneficiary of the work, both for applications to the courts in the United Kingdom and the submissions to the European Court for Human Rights* [*Link from here to the Statement of Facts submitted to the ECoHR], arranged with the providers of the free web space to erase the Intellectual Property of Andrew Yiannides, the founder of the human-rights Community-on-Line, without any reference to the creator of the website and owner of the Intellectual Property!
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