Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice is a major government department, at the heart of the justice system. We work to protect and advance the principles of justice. Our vision is to deliver a world-class justice system that works for everyone in society.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Robert Buckland
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Lord Falconer of Thoroton (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

Liberal Democrat
Wera Hobhouse (LDEM - Bath)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice)

Labour
David Lammy (LAB - Tottenham)
Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

Scottish National Party
Anne McLaughlin (SNP - Glasgow North East)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice)

Liberal Democrat
Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Justice)

Plaid Cymru
Liz Saville Roberts (PC - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Lyn Brown (LAB - West Ham)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Alex Cunningham (LAB - Stockton North)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Peter Kyle (LAB - Hove)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Karl Turner (LAB - Kingston upon Hull East)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Ministers of State
Lucy Frazer (CON - South East Cambridgeshire)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Alex Chalk (CON - Cheltenham)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 29th June 2021
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
29 Jun 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Monday 14th June 2021
Select Committee Docs
Tuesday 15th June 2021
00:00
Select Committee Inquiry
Monday 26th April 2021
Women in Prison

This inquiry seeks to understand the progress made over the past 10 years to address female offending and reduce the …

Written Answers
Monday 14th June 2021
Dangerous Driving: Sentencing
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to increase sentences for people who cause death …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 27th May 2021
Criminal Justice (Electronic Commerce) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021
These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by section 8(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 …
Bills
Tuesday 9th March 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about the police and other emergency workers; to make provision about collaboration between authorities to …
Dept. Publications
Tuesday 15th June 2021
14:05

Ministry of Justice Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
May. 18
Oral Questions
Nov. 20
Topical Questions
Jun. 10
Urgent Questions
Apr. 27
Written Statements
May. 25
Westminster Hall
View All Ministry of Justice Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Ministry of Justice does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Introduced: 20th May 2020

A Bill to make provision about the sentencing of offenders convicted of terrorism offences, of offences with a terrorist connection or of certain other offences; to make other provision in relation to terrorism; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 29th April 2021 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 27th February 2020

A Bill to implement the Hague Conventions of 1996, 2005 and 2007 and to provide for the implementation of other international agreements on private international law.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 14th December 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 8th January 2020

To require the Parole Board to take into account any failure by a prisoner serving a sentence for unlawful killing or for taking or making an indecent image of a child to disclose information about the victim.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 4th November 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 5th March 2020

A Bill to consolidate certain enactments relating to sentencing.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 22nd October 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 7th January 2020

A bill to make in relation to marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales provision about divorce, dissolution and separation; and for connected purposes

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 25th June 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 21st January 2020

A bill to give effect to Law Commission recommendations relating to commencement of enactments relating to sentencing law and to make provision for pre-consolidation amendments of sentencing law

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 8th June 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 11th February 2020

A Bill to make provision about the release on licence of offenders convicted of terrorist offences or offences with a terrorist connection; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 26th February 2020 and was enacted into law.

Ministry of Justice - Secondary Legislation

These Rules amend the Magistrates’ Courts Rules 1981 (the 1981 Rules) to include:
These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by section 8(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (c. 16) in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies, arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
View All Ministry of Justice Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Trending Petitions
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109,116 Signatures
(805 in the last 7 days)
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11,988 Signatures
(475 in the last 7 days)
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1,321 Signatures
(355 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Ministry of Justice has not participated in any petition debates
View All Ministry of Justice Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Justice Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Justice Committee
Robert Neill Portrait
Robert Neill (Conservative - Bromley and Chislehurst)
Justice Committee Chair since 29th January 2020
Andy Slaughter Portrait
Andy Slaughter (Labour - Hammersmith)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Kieran Mullan Portrait
Kieran Mullan (Conservative - Crewe and Nantwich)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Maria Eagle Portrait
Maria Eagle (Labour - Garston and Halewood)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Sarah Dines Portrait
Sarah Dines (Conservative - Derbyshire Dales)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
James Daly Portrait
James Daly (Conservative - Bury North)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Rob Butler Portrait
Rob Butler (Conservative - Aylesbury)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Paula Barker Portrait
Paula Barker (Labour - Liverpool, Wavertree)
Justice Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Janet Daby Portrait
Janet Daby (Labour - Lewisham East)
Justice Committee Member since 22nd February 2021
Angela Crawley Portrait
Angela Crawley (Scottish National Party - Lanark and Hamilton East)
Justice Committee Member since 25th May 2021
Laura Farris Portrait
Laura Farris (Conservative - Newbury)
Justice Committee Member since 8th June 2021
Justice Committee: Previous Inquiries

50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reason it is proposed to average over a 10-year period the raising of the judicial mandatory retirement age from 70 to 75; and how that averaging is planned to be implemented.

The Impact Assessment and Equality Statement, published in 2020 as part of the Judicial Mandatory Retirement Age (MRA) consultation, outlined our assessment of the potential effects of raising the MRA. Analysis of retirement trends suggested that with an MRA of 75, the number of judges and non-legal members in post could be around 400 higher than if the MRA had remained at 70. For magistrates, this figure was 2,000. These estimates were calculated as an average over a 10-year period.

The government intends to legislate to raise the MRA to 75 through the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill, to be introduced shortly. When the MRA is changed to 75, it will immediately apply to all judicial office holders who are in office on the date that the legislative measure is commenced. The legislation will include a transitional provision to enable retired magistrates who are younger than the new MRA to apply to return to the bench, subject to business need.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment support allowance and (c) work related activity component face to face tribunals are waiting for hearings to be listed.

The information requested is not held centrally.

First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) data are published at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

The latest period for which a full data set about SSCS is available is March 2020. The most recent tribunal statistics (for the period up until December 2020) do not include some SSCS data due to issues identified as the Tribunal was being migrated to a new operational system. This data will be made available as soon as this is resolved and the data quality assured.

The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge, who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice.

Throughout the pandemic, appeals continued to be decided on paper, or heard using telephone, and other remote technology. HMCTS introduced safety measures so that face to face hearings could be held for any cases which could not be decided on paper or heard remotely.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on reoffending of tax debts accrued as a result of lack of effective communication with HMRC after a person is taken into custody.

We do not hold data on the reoffending impact of tax debts accrued as a result of a lack of effective communication with HMRC after a person is taken into custody. We are aware anecdotally, however, of problem debt among the prison population and of a possible relationship between debt and further offending. This includes both licit debts owed to creditors and illicit debts owed to criminals in custody and the community.

Currently, under the enhanced Through The Gate (eTTG) specification, the Basic Custody Screening Tool assessment is completed at reception. If that assessment identifies a need around tax, resettlement staff can facilitate a call between the prisoner and HMRC. This support will continue after the launch of the new, unified probation service on 26 June this year, although probation regions may arrange those services in different ways or draw on support from specialist providers.

There is also good work being done in a number of prisons by organisations such as RIFT Social Enterprise, which helps prisoners understand their tax affairs and claim tax refunds.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve (a) communication with HMRC for prisoners and (b) awareness of tax matters affecting prisoners within Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service.

We do not hold data on the reoffending impact of tax debts accrued as a result of a lack of effective communication with HMRC after a person is taken into custody. We are aware anecdotally, however, of problem debt among the prison population and of a possible relationship between debt and further offending. This includes both licit debts owed to creditors and illicit debts owed to criminals in custody and the community.

Currently, under the enhanced Through The Gate (eTTG) specification, the Basic Custody Screening Tool assessment is completed at reception. If that assessment identifies a need around tax, resettlement staff can facilitate a call between the prisoner and HMRC. This support will continue after the launch of the new, unified probation service on 26 June this year, although probation regions may arrange those services in different ways or draw on support from specialist providers.

There is also good work being done in a number of prisons by organisations such as RIFT Social Enterprise, which helps prisoners understand their tax affairs and claim tax refunds.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a scheme whereby HMRC would be automatically informed of (a) a prisoner’s change of address and (b) any automatic change in a prisoner’s employment status when they are taken into custody.

We do not hold data on the reoffending impact of tax debts accrued as a result of a lack of effective communication with HMRC after a person is taken into custody. We are aware anecdotally, however, of problem debt among the prison population and of a possible relationship between debt and further offending. This includes both licit debts owed to creditors and illicit debts owed to criminals in custody and the community.

Currently, under the enhanced Through The Gate (eTTG) specification, the Basic Custody Screening Tool assessment is completed at reception. If that assessment identifies a need around tax, resettlement staff can facilitate a call between the prisoner and HMRC. This support will continue after the launch of the new, unified probation service on 26 June this year, although probation regions may arrange those services in different ways or draw on support from specialist providers.

There is also good work being done in a number of prisons by organisations such as RIFT Social Enterprise, which helps prisoners understand their tax affairs and claim tax refunds.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the report on a scrutiny visit to HMP North Sea Camp by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, published on 2 June 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure that telephone call monitoring for public protection purposes at HMP North Sea Camp is robust.

The Ministry of Justice welcomes HMIP’s scrutiny visit report, published on 2 June, and takes the concerns raised seriously. The Inspectorate found improvements over the course of the pandemic and since their last report, but we recognise there is more to do.

We remain committed to the expansion of Approved Premises through the delivery of an additional 200 bed placements. The Approved Premise Expansion Programme (APEX) has delivered 56 bed spaces to date and we have further bed spaces confirmed for this financial year, which includes a new site for women in Bristol. The Programme is continuing to progress additional sites and we are confident in achieving the 200 placement target.

All prisons in England and Wales are expected to have Equality Strategies and Action Plans, as specified within PSI 2011-32 – Ensuring Equality, and this document will be updated in the coming months providing further guidance to this requirement. HMP North Sea Camp is working with the National Equalities Team to develop an overarching Equalities strategy that both supports and is supportive of the needs of those in the charge of HMPPS.

We are committed to making all our prisons decent and safe for all those who live and work there. Further easing of the restrictions will enable us to work on embedding additional improvements. We will continue to ensure that action is taken to improve conditions for those in our prisons and their outcomes on release.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to report on a scrutiny visit to HMP North Sea Camp by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, published on 2 June 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure that there are enough suitable places in approved premises to ensure that prisoners who require this as part of their parole conditions are released without delay.

The Ministry of Justice welcomes HMIP’s scrutiny visit report, published on 2 June, and takes the concerns raised seriously. The Inspectorate found improvements over the course of the pandemic and since their last report, but we recognise there is more to do.

We remain committed to the expansion of Approved Premises through the delivery of an additional 200 bed placements. The Approved Premise Expansion Programme (APEX) has delivered 56 bed spaces to date and we have further bed spaces confirmed for this financial year, which includes a new site for women in Bristol. The Programme is continuing to progress additional sites and we are confident in achieving the 200 placement target.

All prisons in England and Wales are expected to have Equality Strategies and Action Plans, as specified within PSI 2011-32 – Ensuring Equality, and this document will be updated in the coming months providing further guidance to this requirement. HMP North Sea Camp is working with the National Equalities Team to develop an overarching Equalities strategy that both supports and is supportive of the needs of those in the charge of HMPPS.

We are committed to making all our prisons decent and safe for all those who live and work there. Further easing of the restrictions will enable us to work on embedding additional improvements. We will continue to ensure that action is taken to improve conditions for those in our prisons and their outcomes on release.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Report on a scrutiny visit to HMP North Sea Camp by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, published on 2 June 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure that all prisons in England and Wales develop comprehensive equalities strategies.

The Ministry of Justice welcomes HMIP’s scrutiny visit report, published on 2 June, and takes the concerns raised seriously. The Inspectorate found improvements over the course of the pandemic and since their last report, but we recognise there is more to do.

We remain committed to the expansion of Approved Premises through the delivery of an additional 200 bed placements. The Approved Premise Expansion Programme (APEX) has delivered 56 bed spaces to date and we have further bed spaces confirmed for this financial year, which includes a new site for women in Bristol. The Programme is continuing to progress additional sites and we are confident in achieving the 200 placement target.

All prisons in England and Wales are expected to have Equality Strategies and Action Plans, as specified within PSI 2011-32 – Ensuring Equality, and this document will be updated in the coming months providing further guidance to this requirement. HMP North Sea Camp is working with the National Equalities Team to develop an overarching Equalities strategy that both supports and is supportive of the needs of those in the charge of HMPPS.

We are committed to making all our prisons decent and safe for all those who live and work there. Further easing of the restrictions will enable us to work on embedding additional improvements. We will continue to ensure that action is taken to improve conditions for those in our prisons and their outcomes on release.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to report on a scrutiny visit to HMP North Sea Camp by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, published on 2 June 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure that offender management unit support is of high quality at HMP North Sea Camp.

The Ministry of Justice welcomes HMIP’s scrutiny visit report, published on 2 June, and takes the concerns raised seriously. The Inspectorate found improvements over the course of the pandemic and since their last report, but we recognise there is more to do.

We remain committed to the expansion of Approved Premises through the delivery of an additional 200 bed placements. The Approved Premise Expansion Programme (APEX) has delivered 56 bed spaces to date and we have further bed spaces confirmed for this financial year, which includes a new site for women in Bristol. The Programme is continuing to progress additional sites and we are confident in achieving the 200 placement target.

All prisons in England and Wales are expected to have Equality Strategies and Action Plans, as specified within PSI 2011-32 – Ensuring Equality, and this document will be updated in the coming months providing further guidance to this requirement. HMP North Sea Camp is working with the National Equalities Team to develop an overarching Equalities strategy that both supports and is supportive of the needs of those in the charge of HMPPS.

We are committed to making all our prisons decent and safe for all those who live and work there. Further easing of the restrictions will enable us to work on embedding additional improvements. We will continue to ensure that action is taken to improve conditions for those in our prisons and their outcomes on release.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of adequacy of levels of physical safety among (a) prisoners and (b) staff at HMP Berwyn.

Ensuring the safety of staff and prisoners is a key priority and we continue to prioritise giving all staff the tools and training needed to help them to improve safety outcomes.

HMP Berwyn has continued to support the delivery of safer prisons work throughout the pandemic. This has included launching an intervention programme to address violence for prisoners involved in a number of violent incidents; introducing a new debt strategy with an appointed debt team; and the introduction of a new peer support process to provide support for prisoners to help reduce the risk of self-harm and violence.

HMP Berwyn rolled out ‘Purple Video Visits’ during the pandemic, helping to maintain important family ties – which is vital to rehabilitation. The prison also developed distraction packs to keep prisoners better occupied and support their wellbeing.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish the number of violent incidences by type of incident that have occurred at HMP Berwyn in each month since March 2020.

We routinely publish figures for assaults by establishment as part of the Safety in Custody statistics. These statistical bulletins include breakdowns (at prison level) for prisoner-on-prisoner assault and prisoner-on-staff assault, including by serious assaults. They are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/safety-in-custody-quarterly-update-to-december-2020

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of people convicted of assaulting an emergency worker have been given an immediate custodial sentence of longer than six months since that offence was introduced.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions and sentencing outcomes up to December 2020, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

In the ‘Offence’ filter, select ‘8.22 Assault of an emergency worker’. Number of defendants convicted will populate Row 24, and those sentenced to immediate custody will populate Row 35. The number of defendants who received sentence lengths greater than 6 months will populate Rows 60 to 77.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, in each of the last five years what the average immediate custodial sentence was for (a) each offence in the violence against the person category; (b) burglary; (c) robbery and (d) possession of weapons.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions and sentencing outcomes up to December 2020, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

In the PivotTable Fields, remove the ‘Values’ variable from the ‘Rows’ field and replace with ‘Offence’. Then, drag the ‘Average custodial sentence length (months)’ variable into the ‘Values’ field. Use the ‘Offence group’ filter to select (a) ‘01: Violence against the person’, (b) ‘04: Theft Offences’, (c) ‘Robbery’ and (d) ’07: Possession of weapons’.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of offenders convicted of (a) each offence in the violence against the person category; (b) burglary; (c) robbery and (d) possession of weapons were not given a sentence of immediate custody in each of the last five years.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions and sentencing outcomes up to December 2020, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

Use the ‘Offence group’ filter to select (a) ‘01: Violence against the person’, (b) ‘04: Theft Offences’, (c) ’03: Robbery’ and (d) ’07: Possession of weapons’. In order to identify the number of offenders sentenced who did not receive an immediate custodial sentence, subtract the values of Row 35 (Total immediate custody) from the respective values of Row 25 (Sentenced).

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if the Government will support amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to strengthen protections for shopworkers.

The Government recognises that the violence and abuse faced by retail workers can have a significant impact. It also understands that the pandemic has resulted in some shop workers feeling more vulnerable and susceptible to adverse societal behaviours and at an increased risk of harm from members of the public. The Government is clear that no worker should be made to suffer such abuse or violence in providing a service to the public – it is wholly unacceptable.

We therefore understand the motivations behind the campaigns to create a new assault offence for retail workers but there are already a wide range of offences which exist, and which cover assaults against any worker, including shop workers. In all cases, the fact that an offence has been committed against a person serving the public will be considered as an aggravating factor for the purpose of passing sentence.

The Government is committed to keeping our retail environments safe by driving down violence and abuse towards shop staff and this is being tackled by other means. That is why we are working with retail stakeholders through the Home Office led National Retail Crime Steering Group chaired by the Minister for Crime and Policing and the British Retail consortium to ensure the response to these crimes is as robust as it possibly can be. We are taking necessary steps to ensure that abuse and violence towards retail workers are reported to the police by victims and/or their employers. We believe these practical steps will offer a more direct and robust solution in the longer term.

We are also aware that two amendments have been tabled to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. For now, we remain unpersuaded of the necessity of a new criminal offence to deal with assaults against retail workers. But we will continue to keep the matter under review and listen to the debate on this matter.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to increase sentences for people who cause death by careless driving while not under the influence of drink or drugs.

The government keeps offences and penalties under revew. We have no current plans to increase the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals are currently serving custodial sentences for terrorist offences in the United Kingdom; and which prisons are used for confining such persons.

As reported in the latest statistics released on gov.uk, there were 184 persons serving custodial sentences for terrorist offences in Great Britain (as of 31 December 2020). A further 25 were being held on remand, ahead of trial or sentencing. Those in custody are assessed according to their individual risk and rehabilitation needs and are held in various prisons across the estate. We do not disclose operational detail regarding the location of all terrorist offenders in prison.

Data detailing the number of people serving custodial sentences for terrorist offences is available at Gov.uk. You can access this information here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/operation-of-police-powers-under-the-terrorism-act-2000-quarterly-update-to-december-2020

Northern Ireland Security statistics are available and published by the Northern Ireland Office.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were handed down a prison sentence due to non-payment of council tax in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

Non-payment of council tax is not a criminal offence and cannot attract a custodial sentence. However, as a last resort, a magistrates’ court has the option to commit an individual to prison for non-payment.

Before a magistrates’ court commits someone to prison for failure to pay their council tax, it must have issued a “liability order” and the local authority must have (at least) tried and failed to take control of the debtor’s goods and sell them to recover the debt. Councils have additional powers of enforcement under a liability order, including deduction from earnings, deduction from benefit, charging orders on the property, and bankruptcy. If a council applies for committal to prison, the court must inquire into the debtor’s means, and the council must satisfy the court that there is no other effective method of collection and that failure to pay is due to wilful refusal or culpable neglect. This is to prevent persons who are genuinely unable to pay their council tax from being committed to prison. Where that is the case, courts have the power to remit the debt.

Data on the number of non-criminal admissions to prison for non-payment of council tax, covering the period 1990 – 2020, can be viewed in Table A2.12 at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/983553/Receptions_2020.ods

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) people in total and (b) women were sent to prison for the non-payment of a magistrates’ court fine arising from a conviction for evasion of payment of TV licence fees in 2020.

In 2020, there were no admissions into prison associated with failing to pay a fine in respect of the non-payment of a TV licence in England and Wales.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what specialist training is given to staff in prisons to handle individuals in custody who are experiencing mental health crises; what the procedure is for assessing the need for use of physical force on those individuals; and whether expert opinions from mental health professionals are sought in dealing with those cases.

This government takes the mental health needs of prisoners very seriously and to keep them safe and well, prison officers must have the skills, knowledge and confidence to offer support, alongside healthcare professionals.

Improved mental health awareness training has been developed as part of Prison Officer Entry Level Training and refresher training for existing staff. We are currently developing an improved modular safety training package. This includes an enhanced mental health training module, building on the introductory module for staff supporting individuals with complex needs. Resources also include a suicide and self-harm learning tool, developed in partnership with Samaritans, and a range of guidance relating to known risk factors.

Any use of force must be necessary, reasonable and proportionate to the seriousness of the circumstances. A clinical assessment must take place to determine whether the prisoner has capacity. If the prisoner has been assessed as not having capacity, then the Mental Capacity Act 2005 makes provision for the person to be treated and, if necessary, for force or restraint to be used. When considering the options, healthcare/clinical staff will make the decision and liaise closely with prison staff on the level and type of restraint that might be used.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average time taken is for a probate grant to be issued; what plans he has to reduce that time taken; what progress he has made in reducing the length of the time taken to process all probate cases in 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The most recently published information regarding combined waiting times for a grant of probate, on paper and digital cases, covers September 2020 to December 2020 and is published on gov.uk via Family Court Statistics Quarterly (Table 26):

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/family-court-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2020

Average time to grant issue for grants of Probate, England and Wales, quarterly Q2 2019 - Q4 20201,2,3

Probate - All

Application submission to grant issue

Document receipt to grant issue4

Year

Quarter

Grants issued

Mean weeks

Median weeks

Mean weeks

Median weeks

2019

Q25

:

:

:

:

:

:

2,019

Q3

53,403

9.5

8.0

9.5

8.0

2,019

Q4

54,389

7.8

5.6

7.6

5.4

2020

Q1

49,706

6.7

4.3

6.5

4.1

2020

Q2

45,493

6.6

4.6

6.3

4.4

2020

Q3

60,225

6.7

4.9

6.0

4.4

2020

Q4

54,476

7.2

5.3

6.2

4.9

Probate - Digital

Application submission to grant issue

Document receipt to grant issue4

Grants issued

Mean weeks

Median weeks

Mean weeks

Median weeks

:

:

:

:

:

:

7,166

9.4

7.6

9.0

7.1

11,060

10.2

9.0

9.2

8.3

10,784

7.1

4.9

6.0

3.7

10,955

6.1

3.7

4.7

2.1

21,591

6.4

4.4

4.3

2.6

21,875

6.6

3.1

4.2

0.3

Probate - Paper

Application submission to grant issue

Document receipt to grant issue4

Grants issued

Mean weeks

Median weeks

Mean weeks

Median weeks

:

:

:

:

:

:

46,237

9.6

8.1

9.6

8.1

43,329

7.2

4.7

7.2

4.7

38,922

6.6

4.1

6.6

4.1

34,538

6.8

4.7

6.8

4.7

38,634

6.9

5.1

6.9

5.1

32,601

7.6

6.3

7.6

6.3

Source: HMCTS Core Case Data

Notes:

1) HMCTS Core Case Data came into effect at the end of March 2019, following a transition between data systems recording information regarding the Probate Service.

2) The average timeliness figures are produced by calculating the time from application/document receipt (which may be from an earlier period) to the grant issued made in that period. Currently grants being issued on the same day as the application submission/document receipt are being calculated as 0 days. This is being reviewed as to whether it is an accurate reflection of workload and may be adjusted in future..

3) Some averages presented here may be based on a small number of grants. Where this occurs, any conclusion drawn from these will be limited..

4) Document receipt occurs after payment has been made and all accompanying paperwork has been received by HMCTS.

5) Due to quality issues in the transition between data systems, the breakdown by type of grant has not been published for Q2 2019.

6) A probate application can be stopped for several reasons: a caveat can be entered when there’s a dispute about either who can apply for probate or issues with a will or proposed will, or if an error is identified and a request for further information is made.

Despite the unprecedented challenges faced by the probate service during the Covid 19 pandemic, the average waiting for a grant of probate following receipt of the documents required has been maintained at between four to six weeks.

More recent management information published by HMCTS (which does not go through the same level of quality assurance and analysis as the Family Court Statistics Quarterly) provides waiting time information up to March 2021. This shows that the waiting time on digital grant of probate applications, which are not stopped due to errors or missing documentation, has been below one week since September 2020. Similarly paper cases, not stopped, took less than three weeks on average in March 2021 compared to five weeks in March 2020.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/hmcts-management-information-march-2021

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people in prison (1) enrolled, and (2) completed, an offending behaviour course in each year since 2000.

National data on all prisoner enrolments (starts) and completions of prison delivered accredited offending behaviour programmes (OBPs) is collected and published annually. The latest available data goes up to and includes March 2019. Data up to and including March 2020 is due to be published shortly by the Ministry of Justice. This data will include some individuals who may have attended more than one accredited programme over time. Data on starts and completions before 2010 is not available, and the data available does not break-down information further by those currently in custody, or by sentence type.

Data shown in the tables below identify the number of enrolments (starts) in Table 1 and the completions each year over the same period in Table 2. The data shows a general maintained level of sexual offending programmes delivered over time. However, for other accredited offending behaviour programmes there has been a reduction in the volumes delivered.

Accredited programmes have significantly changed over time from a range of shorter programmes to more intensive specialist programmes which take longer to deliver and target prisoners with a medium and higher risk of reoffending. In 2011, responsibility for commissioning substance misuse programmes moved to the NHS resulting in a reduction in delivered volumes of accredited programmes. The changes have decreased the volume of places available, but places are better aligned to demands and the evidence base which suggests accredited programmes are most effective when targeted at cohorts with medium and higher risk of reoffending.

Table 1: Number of starts for OBPs in custody between the years ending March 2010 and March 2019, England and Wales

Year

Offending Behaviour Programmes

Sexual Offender Treatment Programmes

Substance Misuse Programmes

TOTAL

2010

8,209

1,153

10,166

19,528

2011

8,752

1,189

8,901

18,842

2012

8,607

1,162

7,330

17,099

2013

7,977

1,077

3,320

12,374

2014

7,179

934

882

8,995

2015

6,937

1,056

724

8,717

2016

6,373

1,113

458

7,944

2017

6,185

1,141

362

7,688

2018

4,979

1,022

147

6,148

2019

4,504

1,154

169

5,827

Table 2: Number of completions for OBPs in custody between the years ending March 2010 and March 2019, England and Wales

Year

Offending Behaviour Programmes

Sexual Offender Treatment Programmes

Substance Misuse Programmes

TOTAL

2010

7,339

1,130

7,630

16,099

2011

7,757

1,191

6,968

15,916

2012

7,692

1,166

5,943

14,801

2013

7,374

1,034

2,708

11,116

2014

6,390

877

749

8,016

2015

6,047

947

597

7,591

2016

5,545

1,144

368

7,057

2017

5,479

1,150

331

6,960

2018

4,403

993

122

5,518

2019

3,958

1,114

145

5,217

Table note: As with any data derived from large-scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/873346/accredited-programmes-prisons-2018-19-march-2020-update.XLSX

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public. Accredited programmes aim to protect the public and reduce reoffending and are part of a range of rehabilitation opportunities available. HM Prison and Probation Service remains committed to supporting the progression of those serving IPP and life sentences in custody, so that the Parole Board may direct their release as soon as it is safe to do so.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people in prison serving an Imprisonment for Public Protection sentence (1) enrolled, and (2) completed, an offending behaviour course in each year since 2005.

National data on all prisoner enrolments (starts) and completions of prison delivered accredited offending behaviour programmes (OBPs) is collected and published annually. The latest available data goes up to and includes March 2019. Data up to and including March 2020 is due to be published shortly by the Ministry of Justice. This data will include some individuals who may have attended more than one accredited programme over time. Data on starts and completions before 2010 is not available, and the data available does not break-down information further by those currently in custody, or by sentence type.

Data shown in the tables below identify the number of enrolments (starts) in Table 1 and the completions each year over the same period in Table 2. The data shows a general maintained level of sexual offending programmes delivered over time. However, for other accredited offending behaviour programmes there has been a reduction in the volumes delivered.

Accredited programmes have significantly changed over time from a range of shorter programmes to more intensive specialist programmes which take longer to deliver and target prisoners with a medium and higher risk of reoffending. In 2011, responsibility for commissioning substance misuse programmes moved to the NHS resulting in a reduction in delivered volumes of accredited programmes. The changes have decreased the volume of places available, but places are better aligned to demands and the evidence base which suggests accredited programmes are most effective when targeted at cohorts with medium and higher risk of reoffending.

Table 1: Number of starts for OBPs in custody between the years ending March 2010 and March 2019, England and Wales

Year

Offending Behaviour Programmes

Sexual Offender Treatment Programmes

Substance Misuse Programmes

TOTAL

2010

8,209

1,153

10,166

19,528

2011

8,752

1,189

8,901

18,842

2012

8,607

1,162

7,330

17,099

2013

7,977

1,077

3,320

12,374

2014

7,179

934

882

8,995

2015

6,937

1,056

724

8,717

2016

6,373

1,113

458

7,944

2017

6,185

1,141

362

7,688

2018

4,979

1,022

147

6,148

2019

4,504

1,154

169

5,827

Table 2: Number of completions for OBPs in custody between the years ending March 2010 and March 2019, England and Wales

Year

Offending Behaviour Programmes

Sexual Offender Treatment Programmes

Substance Misuse Programmes

TOTAL

2010

7,339

1,130

7,630

16,099

2011

7,757

1,191

6,968

15,916

2012

7,692

1,166

5,943

14,801

2013

7,374

1,034

2,708

11,116

2014

6,390

877

749

8,016

2015

6,047

947

597

7,591

2016

5,545

1,144

368

7,057

2017

5,479

1,150

331

6,960

2018

4,403

993

122

5,518

2019

3,958

1,114

145

5,217

Table note: As with any data derived from large-scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/873346/accredited-programmes-prisons-2018-19-march-2020-update.XLSX

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public. Accredited programmes aim to protect the public and reduce reoffending and are part of a range of rehabilitation opportunities available. HM Prison and Probation Service remains committed to supporting the progression of those serving IPP and life sentences in custody, so that the Parole Board may direct their release as soon as it is safe to do so.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much funding the Government has allocated to legal aid in England and Wales in each financial year since 2010.

The Lord Chancellor has a duty to ensure that legal aid is made available in accordance with the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012), for cases where the relevant criteria, such as the financial eligibility of the applicant and/or the degree of legal merit in their case, is met, where applicable.

The Ministry of Justice works within HM Treasury allocations as shown in the Main and Supplementary Estimates (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-main-estimates) each year. However, the nature of Legal Aid funding means that it is demand led, and as such the MoJ ensures sufficient allocation is made to cover the incurred costs.

Spend on legal aid since 2010 can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/legal-aid-statistics, which currently shows expenditure up to and including December 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to encourage solicitors to practice in the North East of England.

Under the framework established by the Legal Services Act 2007, the legal profession in England and Wales, and the bodies that regulate it, are independent from government. We continue to ensure that legal aid advice remains accessible to those who need it, and the Legal Aid Agency keeps market capacity under continual review to ensure adequate provision across England and Wales.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure the regional equity of legal hourly rates recovery.

In England and Wales, the general position as to recovery of legal costs in civil litigation is that the losing party pays the costs of the winning party. If these costs are not agreed, then they are assessed on principles and bases set out in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), which apply equally across England and Wales.

Under CPR 44.4, the place where the work was done is one of the factors to be taken into account by the court in deciding the amount of costs.

Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR), published by the Master of the Rolls, provide a starting point for the summary assessment of costs, based on the experience and the location of the lawyer undertaking the work.

In January 2021, the Civil Justice Council (CJC), chaired by the Master of the Rolls, issued a draft report for consultation on proposed revisions to the GHR: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20210108-GHR-Report-for-consultation-FINAL.pdf. The consultation closed on 31 March 2021.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to introduce a mileage allowance which reflects the additional costs incurred by magistrates living in rural areas in undertaking their duties.

All magistrates can claim a mileage allowance as set out in the magistrates’ expenses policy. The rates for this allowance (per mile) are:

Car

Motorcycle

Bicycle

Passenger

Single 45p rate for the first 10,000 miles, 25p thereafter

24p

20p

5p

These rates were introduced in April 2021 after a wider review of magistrates’ expenses. They reflect the recommended rates set by HMRC for tax purposes. The new rates are also used by the wider public sector, including the judiciary and the Civil Service.

As these rates are deemed by HMRC to be the appropriate amount to offset the cost of using private vehicles for business purposes, the Ministry of Justice has no plans to introduce an additional mileage allowance for magistrates.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when the Law Commission plans to publish its report on Taking, Making and Sharing intimate images without consent; and what the Government's timescale is for taking forward the recommendations of that report.

Activities involving the taking and sharing of intimate images are captured by existing offences, for example those tackling revenge pornography, voyeurism, harassment, malicious communications, blackmail, and coercive or controlling behaviour.

To strengthen further the law in this area, the Government recently announced that the “revenge porn” offence will be extended to capture those who threaten to disclose such material. Provisions to extend the parameters of the offence in this manner were introduced in the Domestic Abuse Act.

The provisions will come into force two months after Royal Assent: on 29 June this year.

However, the Government recognises that there is concern over the growth of new technology and the impact on the law in this area.

We have asked the Law Commission to review the law in this area to ensure victims are properly protected. The Law Commission published a public consultation to this review on 26 February this year.

The consultation period ended on 27 May and I understand the Law Commission intends to publish its findings by Spring 2022.

The Government awaits the Law Commission’s findings with interest and shall consider them carefully.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many scrap metal dealers have been (1) prosecuted, and (2) convicted, for failing to hold a (a) site, or (b) mobile collector’s, licence since 2013.

The Ministry of Justice holds data on prosecutions and convictions for offences relating to scrap metal dealers up to December 2020. Information on scrap metal dealers failing to hold a licence cannot be split by site or mobile collectors as this is not specified in legislation; prosecutions and convictions for failing to hold a licence can be found in the attached table, along with prosecutions and convictions for paying for cash for scrap metal.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many scrap metal dealers have been (1) prosecuted, and (2) convicted, for paying cash for scrap metal since 2013.

The Ministry of Justice holds data on prosecutions and convictions for offences relating to scrap metal dealers up to December 2020. Information on scrap metal dealers failing to hold a licence cannot be split by site or mobile collectors as this is not specified in legislation; prosecutions and convictions for failing to hold a licence can be found in the attached table, along with prosecutions and convictions for paying for cash for scrap metal.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an individual who is convicted of (1) rape, or (2) sexual assault, is recorded in crime statistics under their (a) gender identity, or (b) biological sex.

In the courts proceedings database we use binary sex rather than gender, because the binary classification better reflects how individuals are generally reported or managed through the CJS. Sex refers to whether someone is male or female based on their physiology, with ‘gender’ representing a social construct or sense of self that takes a wider range of forms. For example, prisons are either male or female institutions, with prisoners normally placed based on their legally recognised gender. However, given the range of recording practices throughout the CJS, it is likely that most recording includes a mixture of physiological and personal identity.

The recorded sex of defendants dealt with for rape and sexual assault offences can be found in our outcomes by offence tool here (search the drop down list in ‘offence’ and ‘sex’):[DXW1]

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

Offences of aiding, abetting, or conspiracy to, rape are recorded as rape offences in our outcomes by offence tool, but are not separately identifiable.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to re-introduce to parliament the provisions of the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill 2017–19.

The Government will bring forward legislation to establish the provisions of the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill when parliamentary time allows.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the (1) qualifications, and (2) experience, required for interpreters to be listed on the Ministry of Justice register to the same levels as interpreters joining the National Register of Public Service Interpreters.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are

set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many interpreters registered with the Ministry of Justice have been (1) removed from the register, or (2) otherwise sanctioned, as a result of the spot checks and in-person assessments carried out from 1 January 2019 by the quality assurance provider The Language Shop.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are

set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 18 May (HL Deb, col 558) that interpreters "will be removed from the register if they fail to reach the required standard", what are the detailed components of "the required standard".

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are

set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to assist with the extension of the Defamation Act 2013 to Northern Ireland.

The civil law of defamation is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland. As such, the development of, or any reform to, the law in this area is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly to consider.

I note that the Northern Ireland Minister for Finance, Conor Murphy MLA, updated the Assembly late last year and that work is underway in his department to review defamation law. An MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) has also been granted consent by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to introduce a Bill into the Northern Ireland Assembly on this issue. I understand that the proposed Bill is currently being considered by the NI Assembly Speaker as per usual processes.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many, and (2) what proportion of, people serving a life sentence have an up-to-date Offender Assessment System assessment.

The (1) total number and (2) proportion of life sentence prisoners currently in custody, who have an up to date Offender Assessment System (OASys) assessment, is shown in the following table:

Number of life sentence prisoners currently in Custody

Number with an OASys record able to be matched

Number of those identified within OASys with an up to date assessment

Percentage of those identified within OASys with an up to date assessment

7542

7464

6550

88%

Notes for all tables:

  1. These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database and OASys National Reporting System held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. This data was matched on PNC and Prison NOMIS ID. As with any large scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

In order to determine whether an assessment was ‘up to date’, the policy and guidance under the HM Prison and Probation Service’s Offender Management in Custody Model has been applied.

1) An initial OASys assessment must be completed within 16 weeks of a new life sentenced prisoner being received into custody. In the interim, where there is a Court OASys risk assessment prepared for sentencing purposes, that is deemed to be an up to date assessment.

2) Following completion of an initial assessment, a review is required as a minimum every 3 years.

Life sentence prisoners will often have reviews of their OASys assessment undertaken more frequently than once every three years due to parole hearings or other significant events.

There are significant vacancies across the Prison Estate, which has an impact on the number of completed assessments. In order to address this, there are ongoing recruitment campaigns for prisons to employ additional probation officers and qualified probation officers and prison officers.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 in each UK prison since March 2020.

The safety of our staff and those under our supervision remains a top priority, and testing is an important element of our overall set of measures to limit the importation of infection into and between prisons. We have therefore been working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, the NHS, and health authority colleagues in England and Wales since last summer on providing access to Covid-19 tests in both publicly and privately-run prisons.

Data on prisoners in England and Wales who tested positive broken down by establishment and month was published in the February edition of the HM Prison and Probation Service COVID-19 statistics monthly series. I have attached copy of the summary tables included in the release, with data on positive test results provided in Table 2.

Over the course of the pandemic we have expanded the use of testing based on public health recommendations, and we now offer testing routinely to all staff and those prisoners who are moving into or within the prison estate. We also conduct mass testing as part of a multi-agency response to outbreaks.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 in each month since March 2020.

The safety of our staff and those under our supervision remains a top priority, and testing is an important element of our overall set of measures to limit the importation of infection into and between prisons. We have therefore been working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, the NHS, and health authority colleagues in England and Wales since last summer on providing access to Covid-19 tests in both publicly and privately-run prisons.

Data on prisoners in England and Wales who tested positive broken down by establishment and month was published in the February edition of the HM Prison and Probation Service COVID-19 statistics monthly series. I have attached copy of the summary tables included in the release, with data on positive test results provided in Table 2.

Over the course of the pandemic we have expanded the use of testing based on public health recommendations, and we now offer testing routinely to all staff and those prisoners who are moving into or within the prison estate. We also conduct mass testing as part of a multi-agency response to outbreaks.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the average tariff length imposed for murder was in each year since 2000.

The average length of the minimum term (sometimes known as a ‘tariff’) for life sentences for murder convictions since 2000 is as follows:

Year of Sentence

Average minimum term (years)

2000

13

2001

13

2002

13

2003

13

2004

14

2005

15

2006

17

2007

15

2008

17

2009

17

2010

19

2011

18

2012

20

2013

20

2014

20

2015

20

2016

20

2017

20

2018

21

2019

21

2020

20

Data sources and quality

Note that the minimum term is the time between date of sentence and tariff expiry date. Time on remand is taken into account when setting the tariff expiry date. The figures do not include whole-life orders.

The figures in these tables have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Source: Public Protection Unit Database.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were prosecuted under the single justice procedure in each month of 2020 and 2021 by type of offence; and what the plea rates were for offences charged under the single justice procedure in each of those months.

Data showing the number of defendants dealt with via single justice procedures (SJP) notices at the magistrates’ courts by plea and offence in England and Wales from January – December 2020 (latest available) can be found in the attached table.

The data supplied is a subset of published information relating to the timeliness of defendants dealt with by SJP notice which is available in Table 1 of the Criminal Court Statistics Quarterly, latest to December 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much legal aid has been allocated to Northern Ireland law firms (a) KRW Law and (b) Madden and Finucane in each of the last five years.

KRW Law were offered a legal aid contract which allowed them to represent families of the victims at the inquest into the Birmingham Pub Bombings. Our thoughts are with the families of those who died during this horrific attack.

Legal aid is available for inquests in exceptional cases, which is why we funded the families throughout this inquest.

While our review of legal aid showed that legal representation is not necessary for the vast majority of inquests, we are making a number of changes to ensure there is more support for bereaved families.

Payments by the Legal Aid Agency to KRW Law during the last five years are broken down as below. Note that legal aid costs are paid in arrears, therefore payments may be made in a different year to that in which services were provided:

Year

Amount

2021

£62,892.84

2020

£91,622.03

2019

Nil

2018

Nil

2017

Nil

No legal aid has been allocated to Madden and Finucane in any of the last five years.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there were for the non-payment of TV licence fees (i) in total and (ii) of women in 2020.

The Ministry of Justice has published the number of prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes (including fine amounts) for the non-payment of TV licence fees up to December 2020, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; prosecutions can be found in row 23 and convictions are in row 24.
  • To see these figures for females, select ’02: Female’ in the Sex filter.
  • The number of fines issued each year can be found in row 28, and the average fine amount in row 78.

Number of charges withdrawn can be found in the Magistrates’ courts data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987723/magistrates-court-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; Charges withdrawn can be found in row 25.

It is not possible to distinguish at which stage the charge was withdrawn, whether the offence was dealt with under a Single Justice Procedure or information regarding plea at magistrates’ court.

Centrally held Ministry of Justice court proceedings data does not record committals for default of fine payment because the offence will be recorded under contempt of court, which will not separately identify non-payment of fines. This information can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much his Department handed down in fines to people sentenced for TV Licence fee non-payment in each year since 2012.

The Ministry of Justice has published the number of prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes (including fine amounts) for the non-payment of TV licence fees up to December 2020, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; prosecutions can be found in row 23 and convictions are in row 24.
  • To see these figures for females, select ’02: Female’ in the Sex filter.
  • The number of fines issued each year can be found in row 28, and the average fine amount in row 78.

Number of charges withdrawn can be found in the Magistrates’ courts data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987723/magistrates-court-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; Charges withdrawn can be found in row 25.

It is not possible to distinguish at which stage the charge was withdrawn, whether the offence was dealt with under a Single Justice Procedure or information regarding plea at magistrates’ court.

Centrally held Ministry of Justice court proceedings data does not record committals for default of fine payment because the offence will be recorded under contempt of court, which will not separately identify non-payment of fines. This information can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many committal orders were made by Magistrates’ Courts in England and Wales against women for default of payment of fines (a) in total and (b) in relation to a conviction for the non-payment of (i) a TV licence fee fine and (ii) council tax in 2020.

The Ministry of Justice has published the number of prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes (including fine amounts) for the non-payment of TV licence fees up to December 2020, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; prosecutions can be found in row 23 and convictions are in row 24.
  • To see these figures for females, select ’02: Female’ in the Sex filter.
  • The number of fines issued each year can be found in row 28, and the average fine amount in row 78.

Number of charges withdrawn can be found in the Magistrates’ courts data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987723/magistrates-court-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; Charges withdrawn can be found in row 25.

It is not possible to distinguish at which stage the charge was withdrawn, whether the offence was dealt with under a Single Justice Procedure or information regarding plea at magistrates’ court.

Centrally held Ministry of Justice court proceedings data does not record committals for default of fine payment because the offence will be recorded under contempt of court, which will not separately identify non-payment of fines. This information can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, in how many prosecutions for TV Licence fee non-payment charges were withdrawn (a) after a Single Justice Procedure was sent to the defendant and (b) after a plea was entered by the defendant.

The Ministry of Justice has published the number of prosecutions, convictions and sentencing outcomes (including fine amounts) for the non-payment of TV licence fees up to December 2020, available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; prosecutions can be found in row 23 and convictions are in row 24.
  • To see these figures for females, select ’02: Female’ in the Sex filter.
  • The number of fines issued each year can be found in row 28, and the average fine amount in row 78.

Number of charges withdrawn can be found in the Magistrates’ courts data tool: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987723/magistrates-court-2020.xlsx

  • Select ‘191A Television licence evasion’ in the Offence filter; Charges withdrawn can be found in row 25.

It is not possible to distinguish at which stage the charge was withdrawn, whether the offence was dealt with under a Single Justice Procedure or information regarding plea at magistrates’ court.

Centrally held Ministry of Justice court proceedings data does not record committals for default of fine payment because the offence will be recorded under contempt of court, which will not separately identify non-payment of fines. This information can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much prosecutions for non-payment of the TV licence cost his Department in each year since 2012.

The information requested is not held centrally.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is unable to disaggregate costs specifically related to the prosecution of non-payment of TV Licences from the overall costs of the magistrates’ court.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress he has made on implementing the provisions of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Act provides for the biggest reform of divorce law in fifty years and will reduce conflict between couples legally ending a marriage or civil partnership. At Commons Third Reading of the Bill the Lord Chancellor explained the need to allow time for careful implementation and that, at that early stage, the Government was working towards an indicative timetable of autumn 2021. This was an ambitious timetable.

Following Royal Assent on 25 June 2020, the Ministry of Justice has worked closely with the Family Procedure Rule Committee to identify the significant changes needed to Family Procedure Rules and supporting practice directions, and to devise some key new procedures. Those procedural changes are critical as they will shape amendments to family court forms, the online digital divorce service, and information on gov.uk. The Family Procedure Rule Committee has now consulted on draft rule amendments and is working to finalise these rules post consultation.

In parallel, officials have begun work to identify, design and build the necessary amendments to court forms and, importantly, amend the new online digital divorce service while the procedural rules themselves are being finalised. This work includes consideration of commitments made during the passage of the Act through parliament to improve the information and signposting for couples when they navigate the legal process of divorce, dissolution or separation.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring that the amended digital service allows for a smooth transition from the existing service which has reformed the way divorce is administered in the courts and improved the service received by divorcing couples at a traumatic point in their lives. Following detailed design work, it is now clear that these amendments, along with the full and rigorous testing of the new system ahead of implementation, will not conclude before the end of the year.

The Government recognises the need for clarity on when these important reforms will come into force. This will now be on the common commencement date of 6 April 2022. While this delay is unfortunate it is essential that we take the time to get this right. The new divorce process will work to reduce conflict, which is especially damaging for children, and will reflect work the Government are undertaking through the Reducing Parental Conflict programme. That programme will build the evidence on what works to reduce harmful levels of parental conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse, working with local areas to help them embed support in their local services for families. We will also use this opportunity to strengthen signposting to family mediation as a means to resolve arrangements for children and the division of assets on divorce.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on law firms based in the North East of the disparity in arrangements for recovering legal costs compared with law firms headquartered in London.

In England and Wales, the general position as to recovery of legal costs in civil litigation is that the losing party pays the costs of the winning party. If these costs are not agreed, then they are assessed on principles and bases set out in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), which apply equally across England and Wales.

Under CPR 44.4, the place where the work was done is one of the factors to be taken into account by the court in deciding the amount of costs.

Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR), published by the Master of the Rolls, provide a starting point for the summary assessment of costs, based on the experience and the location of the lawyer undertaking the work.

In January 2021, the Civil Justice Council (CJC), chaired by the Master of the Rolls, issued a draft report for consultation on proposed revisions to the GHR: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/20210108-GHR-Report-for-consultation-FINAL.pdf. The consultation closed on 31 March 2021.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)