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Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Child Abuse in North Wales Judicial Inquiry Review (20 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: Lady Justice Macur’s Review is entirely independent of Government and its timetable is a matter for her . She is on record as saying that her Review would be thorough and that she would not draw any conclusions until she had considered all the evidence. I am, however, confident that good progress has been made and the Review is nearing its completion. The Government looks forward to...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Family Law (20 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: Parties with no legal representation are not a new phenomenon in our courts. We have taken steps to help people who either want or have to represent themselves in court. The new package of support announced on 23 October is aimed at keeping disputes away from court, while those who end up in court will be provided with better support. The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for courts in...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Powers of Attorney (20 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to run a communications campaign early next year to raise awareness amongst the public of future life planning options and encourage them to think about making provision for possible loss of mental capacity. It will focus on raising awareness of using lasting power(s) of attorney (LPAs), as well as associated issues such as making a will and organ...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Written Questions: Government Responses (20 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The three questions were answered on the 18th November 2014 and the answers published on http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-quest ions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Courts (20 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The new package of support announced on 23 October is aimed at keeping disputes away from court, while those who end up in court will be provided with better support. The funding will be used to support a new strategic approach to increasing legal and practical support for litigants in person in the civil and family courts. This will provide direct support in some local courts, and other...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Family Law (20 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for courts in England and Wales only and the available information is provided in the table below. We do not hold this information prior to 2011 as the case management system “FamilyMan” was not used by all courts until the end of 2010. 2014 data is available up to June, and the full year figures for 2014 will not be published until late...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Mediation (20 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: Mediation works and we are committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court. Last year we changed the law so that anyone considering a court battle over child or financial matters must consider mediation. We have also introduced more free mediation, where one party is already funded. Last year nearly...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Public Records (19 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: Departments must comply with the provisions of the Public Records Act 1958 and the Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on Records Management, issued under section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Government departments are currently in transition from the 30-year rule for transferring records to The National Archives to a 20-year rule, over a ten year period. The National...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Freedom of Information (18 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The Ministry of Justice publishes quarterly and annual statistical reports on the handling of requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The reports, which date back to 2010, include statistics on the number of requests where the Department responded within the statutory period. These reports can be accessed via the following webpage:...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Private Finance Initiative (18 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The MoJ (the core Department and its Executive Agencies) had Private Finance Initiative liabilities of 4,420,376,000 as at 31 March 2014. These liabilities related to 22 contracts, the details of which are in the table attached. Table of PFI Liabilities (Word Document, 42.5 KB)

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Grandparents (18 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: When making any decision about a child’s upbringing the court’s paramount consideration will be the welfare of the child. Under the provisions of the Children Act 1989, grandparents are required to seek the permission of the court before making an application for a child arrangements order for them to spend time with or have contact with their grandchildren or have their...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Family Courts: Wales (17 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: We do not hold information on the representation of parents in the family court. Family cases showing applicants and respondents who represent themselves are published quarterly. Not all applicants and respondents will be parents. Applicants who represent themselves have the field 'legal representation' in the Ministry of Justice administrative database left blank. This is only a proxy...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Humanist Marriages (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: As the hon. Lady will know, this Government are the first ever to have addressed the question of humanist weddings in England and Wales. Following the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the Government are honouring their commitment to hold a review. That review finished in September, and more than 1,900 people responded. We will honour our commitment to produce a report...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Humanist Marriages (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The Government have legislated for same-sex marriages and were the first Government ever to address that question. I cannot anticipate the announcement at the end of the review. We are currently assessing the many responses to the consultation, as the hon. Lady would expect. We are committed to producing the report, and after that I will be happy to go into details of what the Government plan...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Humanist Marriages (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The hon. Gentleman is correct to say that in Scotland humanist weddings are permitted, and that has been the case since 2005. The Scottish system is entirely different from that in England and Wales because it is based on who officiates, rather than the place where the marriage takes place. It will be a major change in our law to go down that road. As I said, I will report to the House before...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Humanist Marriages (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: My hon. Friend is right that Jews and Quakers receive particular consideration, and I am also aware that—according to the figures we have—between 600 and 800 people conduct humanist weddings every year, although they are not legally valid. I understand the importance of the issue and I was fully supportive of the legislation when it went through the House. I undertake to give a...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Topical Questions (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: It is true that the rate of self-harm is far too high in our prisons and is traditionally higher among women than men. I can reassure my hon. Friend a little, however: between 2004 and 2010, the number of incidents was over 10,000 a year, but that has come down significantly in the last three years to fewer than 6,000 last year. However, this issue is clearly linked to mental health, and the...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Topical Questions (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: I have not been sat on and I work collaboratively with all my colleagues in the Department. We are committed not only to talking about these things but to doing things. Last month, we introduced a whole set of new provisions that give support to people in the family courts. We have added legal aid for people going to mediation and now for the first mediation. We are reviewing what further...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Separation (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: The Government is committed to making sure that when people separate they do it in the best possible way. Too many people end up fighting expensive and confrontational court battles when they could be helped to resolve their problems outside the courts. However when people do end up in court it is imperative that they have the right advice and information. The new package of support...

Written Answers — Ministry of Justice: Human Rights (11 November 2014)

Simon Hughes: We agreed in the Coalition Agreement that our obligations under the Convention will continue to be enshrined in UK law. The Agreement also makes it clear that there will be no major changes to the human rights framework before the General Election in May 2015.

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