Dr Lynda Clark: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my response in relation to previous questions on devolution issues, when I advised that 29 devolution issues were intimated in respect of prison conditions. No representations as such have been made regarding prison conditions, but generally prison conditions are a matter for the Scottish Executive.
Dr Lynda Clark: I am pleased to say that I am not responsible for Her Majesty's Opposition.
Dr Lynda Clark: Since 29 June, 83 devolution issues have been intimated to me, with all but six relating to human rights. Forty-nine devolution issues related to criminal matters, including pre-trial delay, self-incrimination, the use of temporary judges and regulatory fisheries offences. In the civil sphere, 34 issues were intimated, almost all of which concerned personal injury actions in respect of...
Dr Lynda Clark: Nobody has intimated to me—formally—any illegality. If anyone thinks that any illegality connects to my ministerial office by way of a devolution issue, there is a simple procedure to deal with that. However, it seems to me that this is not a devolution issue.
Dr Lynda Clark: I am aware of the policy intentions that have been publicised, but any advice that I give will not be public.
Dr Lynda Clark: The obligations will always technically be on the state, which is, of course, the United Kingdom, but implementation can be tackled in various ways, as has been done through orders. In the case of any challenge, and if the matter were raised formally in court, for example, the European Court of Justice, the state would have to answer it.
Dr Lynda Clark: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland.
Dr Lynda Clark: Since 25 May, 48 devolution issues have been intimated to me. Thirty-six of those related to criminal matters, including pre-trial delay, self-incrimination under the Road Traffic Act 1988, regulatory fisheries offences and evidential issues. In the civil sphere, 12 issues were intimated, 11 of which related to actions for damages or judicial review in respect of prison conditions, while the...
Dr Lynda Clark: To date, I have had no discussions with the commissioner. The matters that my hon. Friend raises relate to policy, which would usually be discussed with policy Ministers, not with me. Obviously, were there any legal issues to be addressed, that might be a different matter.
Dr Lynda Clark: The hon. Lady knows full well that I cannot tell the House whether my advice has been sought.
Dr Lynda Clark: I am afraid so. I am happy to discuss privately with the hon. Lady general issues relating to the statutory structure, if that would be of assistance to her.
Dr Lynda Clark: I can only say that those kind words were entirely unsolicited. I shall be more than happy to pass on my right hon. Friend's good wishes and thanks to the Lord Advocate.
Dr Lynda Clark: In addition to the human rights issues raised in the devolution issue minutes to which I referred some moments ago, as a matter of routine such matters were considered by me in my role under section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998 and in my capacity as a United Kingdom Law Officer.
Dr Lynda Clark: I am sure that many Members of this Parliament, as individuals, will read the commission's report with great interest when it is available. I think that these matters will generally be regarded as devolved, but I am sure that, with his great experience, my hon. Friend will find a way of raising the issues that concern him in the House.
Dr Lynda Clark: I think that Question Time has resulted in a most interesting and stimulating debate. I have certainly enjoyed it. I am particularly grateful to Opposition Members, who have raised so many questions with me. I shall be delighted to review the answers, but I remind Members that the conventions which prohibit me from giving details of opinions are not created by me—they are long-standing...
Dr Lynda Clark: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Ann McKechin).
Dr Lynda Clark: Since 27 April, there have been 37 devolution issues intimated to me. Twenty-four of those related to criminal matters, including pre-trial delay, self-incrimination under the Road Traffic Act 1988, regulatory fisheries offences and the use of sexual history evidence in trials. In the civil sphere, 13 devolution issues were intimated concerning sequestration, appeals to the parking appeals...
Dr Lynda Clark: Obviously, I am not able to advise on what opinions I gave or what I advised. As to the general statutory structure, the hon. Lady is aware that both devolved and reserved matters are covered. Each decision will have to be determined on the basis of the particular circumstances, bearing in mind the specific statutory structures.
Dr Lynda Clark: As the hon. Lady recognises, what happens at Dungavel is a reserved matter and the policy issues are not for me to deal with, but for the responsible Ministers at the Home Office. Home Office Ministers are aware of the General Assembly's criticisms and will doubtless take them into account.
Dr Lynda Clark: I am more than happy to look into that specific issue. In general terms, however, the hon. Gentleman will be aware that it is not appropriate to give individual members of the public financial advice. That is not a matter for counter staff, but they can advise on how, procedurally, various accounts can be opened.