Commonwealth: Judicial Processes

House of Lords written question – answered on 27 March 2014.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have assessed the judicial process in Commonwealth countries; if so, whether they have concerns about any of the countries; and, if so, which countries.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We have not completed a specific assessment of the judicial process in Commonwealth countries. However, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights report, we do look at access to justice and rule of law as part of our assessment of the overall human rights situation in countries of concern. Out of the 26 countries of human rights concern three are Commonwealth members: Fiji, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

We are also in contact with Commonwealth organisations which specialise in legal affairs and the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division to encourage them to ensure that all

Commonwealth members are afforded the support they need to adhere to the legal responsibilities they have agreed to in the Commonwealth Charter. We also use Commonwealth fora, such as the Commonwealth Law Ministers’ meetings (CLMM), to raise our concerns. The next CLMM is in Botswana on 5-8 May. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Mr Vara will represent the UK.

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