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Written Question
Universal Credit
12 Jan 2022

Questioner: Imran Hussain (LAB - Bradford East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of removing the two-child limit from universal credit as recommended by the Social Mobility Commission in its State of the Nation 2021 report.

Answered by David Rutley

No assessment has been carried out since the Social Mobility Commission’s report. However, latest figures from April 2021 indicate that over 50% of those households with three or more children who are in receipt of Universal Credit, are not affected by the two-child policy, with over 4% of those being in receipt of an exception. Statistics relating to this policy are published annually, most recently on the 15 July 2021, and are available on GOV.UK.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2020, of all families with dependent children, 85% had a maximum of two in their family. For lone parent families, this was 83%.

The government therefore feels it is proportionate to provide support through Universal Credit for a maximum of two children. A benefits structure adjusting automatically to family size is unsustainable.

On 9 July 2021, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the judicial review of the two-child policy. The court found the two-child policy lawful and not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights

This policy ensures fairness by asking families on benefits to make the same financial decisions as families supporting themselves solely through work. We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups.

.

Exceptions to the two-child policy are any child in a household who is:

  • Adopted, when they would otherwise be in Local Authority care;
  • Children living long term with friends or family, who would otherwise be at risk of entering the care system;
  • A child born to a young person under 16, who is living with their parents or carers (until they make a separate claim upon turning 16);
  • Third and subsequent children who are:

- additional children in a multiple birth;

- likely to have been born as a result of non-consensual conception (which for this

purpose includes rape or where the claimant was in a controlling or coercive

relationship with the child’s other biological parent at the time of conception).

More information regarding this policy and its exceptions, can be found on GOV.UK.


Written Question
Overseas Aid
11 Jan 2022

Questioner: Baroness Sugg (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish the Equalities Impact Assessment relating to the reduction in Official Development Assistance in March.

Answered by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

The Government disclosed the Equalities Assessment to the International Planned Parenthood Federation as part of their Judicial Review claim. Having considered usual practices across Government, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has no plans to publish the overarching Equalities Assessment for Official Development Assistance for its spend in financial year 2021-2022. We will set out our future ambitions on transparency in the upcoming International Development Strategy.


Written Question
Employment Tribunals Service
5 Jan 2022

Questioner: Kate Osamor (LAB - Edmonton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the backlog in employment tribunals.

Answered by James Cartlidge

Despite the enormous challenges the employment tribunals have faced since the onset of the pandemic, they have remained open and operational throughout. We adapted swiftly to support remote ways of working and running hearings virtually, to ensure ongoing access to justice where cases cannot be heard in person. As a result, the employment tribunals are the single largest user of the Cloud Video Platform across all our tribunals and have used record numbers of remote hearings to return hearing capacity to its pre-Covid level. We have also embarked on an ambitious recruitment campaign for both judges and legal officers to further boost capacity and allow us to work through outstanding cases as efficiently as possible.

However, significant challenges remain. We are working closely with the judiciary to continue to improve our disposal rate through maximising judicial capacity and driving further recruitment of judges. The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy have also been working closely on what further measures we can introduce to support recovery across the employment dispute system, and to enhance its resilience and sustainability in the longer term.

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill currently before Parliament will make the independent Tribunal Procedure Committee responsible for Employment Tribunal (ET) and Employment Appeal Tribunal procedure rules. This will allow for a quicker response to the need for changes to ET rules to meet changing circumstances and maximise the impact of ongoing work to tackle the impact of COVID-19 backlogs.


Written Question
Judiciary: Public Appointments
5 Jan 2022

Questioner: Alex Cunningham (LAB - Stockton North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the status of his Department's review into widening judicial eligibility criteria to permit CILEX Lawyers to apply for all judicial posts is as of 16 December 2021.

Answered by James Cartlidge

The Ministry of Justice’s review of barriers to certain legal professionals, including CILEX lawyers applying to a wider range of judicial offices, is ongoing.

In the Judicial Diversity Forum’s (JDF) update to its plan and priorities for 2021/22, published on 20 December 2021 (https://judicialappointments.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/JDF-2022-action-plan.pdf), the MoJ committed to review, by July 2022, the process and barriers to appointment to Judicial Office for all parts of the legal profession to ensure we broaden the pool of talent by:

  • Exploring fuller opportunities for Solicitors and Chartered Legal Executives to gain court experience, including advocacy, to support preparation for the judiciary;
  • Working with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, and other legal professional bodies, to explore the necessary steps for increasing CILEX’s eligibility for a wider range of judicial roles.

Written Question
Judiciary: Training
24 Dec 2021

Questioner: Baroness Helic (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Judicial College has updated training on domestic abuse since April.

Answered by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar

To preserve the independence of the judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice (LCJ), the Senior President of the Tribunals, and the Chief Coroner have statutory responsibility for judicial training, under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, and Coroners and Justice Act 2009 respectively. These responsibilities are exercised through the Judicial College. The judiciary and professional staff in the Judicial College are responsible for the design, content, and delivery of judicial training.

I understand that, since April this year, the Chair of the Judicial College, in consultation with the President of the Family Division, has led work to review judicial training on domestic abuse. Refreshed and updated specialist digital training on domestic abuse was launched in October 2021 for all family judges, including Recorders and Deputy District Judges. In addition, from October 2021, new digital domestic abuse training is being rolled out to meet the needs of all magistrates and legal advisers.

New training that addresses the attitudinal and behavioural issues raised in recent caselaw, the MoJ Harm Report and the Domestic Abuse Act will be rolled out from April 2022 and will form a substantial part of compulsory family and civil continuation training seminars for the 2022/23 training year.


Written Question
Remote Hearings
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: Emily Thornberry (LAB - Islington South and Finsbury)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of commissioning an independent, public evaluation of the impact of remote trials in criminal courts on access to justice, justice outcomes, and the representation of defendants.

Answered by James Cartlidge

Remote hearings are a key part of reform of our courts and tribunals system, and how video technology is used in criminal proceedings is kept under regular review by HMCTS.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) have published a large-scale multi-method evaluation of remote hearings during the pandemic.

The study aimed to understand who attended remote hearings; how public users, the judiciary, legal representatives, HMCTS staff, intermediaries, support staff, and observers experienced remote hearings; and the perceptions and attitudes of these stakeholders towards remote hearings. This evaluation can be found here.

More broadly, MoJ is currently conducting an evaluation of the HMCTS Reform programme. The evaluation will consider the effect of reform on fairness, access to justice and cost to users. This includes a process evaluation of the Video Hearings Service, which will explore how the hearings worked in practice and the perceptions and experiences of the parties involved, including the barriers faced and support required.

Judicial decisions on whether to hold a hearing remotely are informed by the criminal procedure rules and criminal practice directions. The Department and HMCTS will continue to review the use of remote hearings.


Written Question
Remote Hearings: Impact Assessments
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: Emily Thornberry (LAB - Islington South and Finsbury)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish his Department's most recent assessment of the impact of remote trials in criminal courts on access to justice, justice outcomes and the representation of defendants.

Answered by James Cartlidge

Remote hearings are a key part of reform of our courts and tribunals system, and how video technology is used in criminal proceedings is kept under regular review by HMCTS.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) have published a large-scale multi-method evaluation of remote hearings during the pandemic.

The study aimed to understand who attended remote hearings; how public users, the judiciary, legal representatives, HMCTS staff, intermediaries, support staff, and observers experienced remote hearings; and the perceptions and attitudes of these stakeholders towards remote hearings. This evaluation can be found here.

More broadly, MoJ is currently conducting an evaluation of the HMCTS Reform programme. The evaluation will consider the effect of reform on fairness, access to justice and cost to users. This includes a process evaluation of the Video Hearings Service, which will explore how the hearings worked in practice and the perceptions and experiences of the parties involved, including the barriers faced and support required.

Judicial decisions on whether to hold a hearing remotely are informed by the criminal procedure rules and criminal practice directions. The Department and HMCTS will continue to review the use of remote hearings.


Written Question
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
20 Dec 2021

Questioner: Lord Roberts of Llandudno (LDEM - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which the Judicial Review and Courts Bill meets their aspirations in this policy area.

Answered by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill delivers on the Government’s Manifesto commitment to ensure that Judicial Review is available to protect the rights of individuals against an overbearing state, without being abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays.

The Bill reduces inefficiency by overturning the Cart judgment and creates new powers for the courts to modify quashing orders, allowing them to tailor their decisions more closely to the circumstances of individual cases

The courts elements of the Bill contains measures to streamline procedures across the justice system. It gives the criminal courts powers to progress cases more quickly, avoid unnecessary hearings, and ensure cases are heard in the most appropriate court at the earliest opportunity. This will save court time so that resources can be focused on trials and on reducing the backlog.


Written Question
Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission
14 Dec 2021

Questioner: Emily Thornberry (LAB - Islington South and Finsbury)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government has plans to commence a stand-alone Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission.

Answered by James Cartlidge

We remain committed to looking at the broader aspects of the constitution and the relationship between Government, Parliament and the courts, as pledged in the Government’s Manifesto.

Given the broad nature of these areas, we are taking the work forward via a range of workstreams rather than a single Commission to ensure all policy development is given the utmost consideration.

For example, following the Independent Review of Administrative law and a Government consultation, the Judicial Review and Courts Bill delivers on our manifesto commitment to improve judicial review processes.

The Government also established the Independent Human Rights Act Review in December 2020 to examine the framework of the HRA, how it is operating in practice and whether any change is required. We have published the Panel’s report today and carefully considered its conclusions as part of a wider reform programme.

Today the Justice Secretary launched a consultation to seek views on the government’s proposals to reform the Human Rights Act. This will ensure the domestic human rights framework meets the needs of the society it serves and commands public confidence.


Written Question
Liquefied Natural Gas: Mozambique
2 Dec 2021

Questioner: Luke Pollard (LAB - Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the (a) level of greenhouse gas emissions that will be generated and (b) impact on the UK’s commitments on climate change as a result of the financial support provided by UK Export Finance to the natural gas project in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

Answered by Mike Freer

We are unable to provide the information requested because UK Export Finance’s support for the Mozambique LNG project in Cabo Delgado is currently the subject of judicial review proceedings.


Written Question
Home Education: Standards
30 Nov 2021

Questioner: Baroness Deech (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the High Court decision in Goodred v Portsmouth City Council [2021] EWHC 3057, what steps they are taking to ensure that local authorities are aware of their powers to carry out inquiries to check that home schooled children are receiving "a suitable education", as required by the Education Act 1996.

Answered by Baroness Barran

The department intervened in the Goodred v Portsmouth City Council judicial review as a neutral party to assist the court in understanding relevant guidance and legislation. A judgment was handed down on 16 November 2021, where the claim was dismissed on all grounds.

The government has substantially strengthened its guidance to local authorities on exercising their powers in relation to elective home education. The revised guidance, which was published in April 2019, sets out the steps that local authorities should take to satisfy themselves that the education provided by parents at home is suitable, and the actions that they can take if they are not satisfied. This guidance will be reviewed again in due course.


Written Question
Judicial Review
26 Nov 2021

Questioner: Matthew Offord (CON - Hendon)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress he has made in reforming the law of judicial review.

Answered by James Cartlidge

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill delivers on the Government’s manifesto commitment to ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays.

The Bill creates new powers for the courts to modify quashing orders in Judicial Review proceedings and improves the flexibility of the courts to provide proportionate remedies, increasing the tools in their toolbox.

Specifically, the power to suspend a quashing order allows the courts to give time for transitional arrangements to be made, or give Parliament the opportunity to pass legislation in response to a decision to quash.

The Bill also allows for the retrospective effect of quashing orders to be removed or limited. This measure allows the court to protect third parties that have relied on decisions in the past, and whose legal position may be compromised if that decision is quashed retrospectively.

Finally, the Bill removes Cart judicial reviews, by way of a narrow and carefully worded ouster clause. We want to remove Cart reviews because the situation is, in the Government’s firm view, a disproportionate use of resources in our justice system. Out of around 750 applications a year only 3.4% are successful, and these cases take up around 180 days of precious judicial resource a year.

The Bill finished its Commons Committee stage on 23 November.


Written Question
Gov Facility Services: Stonewall
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Tim Loughton (CON - East Worthing and Shoreham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what funds have been paid by Government Facility Services Limited to Stonewall in each of the last five years; and to what projects those funds were allocated.

Answered by James Cartlidge

In the period covering the last five financial years, National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has paid the following sums to Stonewall.

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2020-21 Financial Year

£837.60 (formally NOMS) Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service conference attendance

2021-22 Financial Year

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years, Office of the Public Guardian has paid the following sums to Stonewall.

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2019-20 Financial Year

£552.00 Stonewall Conference Attendance

2020-21 & 2021-22 Financial Years

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years, the Department's Welsh Language Scheme has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years, Independent Monitoring Authority has not made any payments to Stonewall.

Please note that MoJ does not have a Probation Board. However, the Parole Board is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the MoJ. In the period covering the last five financial years, Parole Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Aid Agency has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Judicial Appointments Commission has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Youth Justice Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Services Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has paid the following sums to Stonewall:

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2020-21 Financial Year

£3000 Cafcass Stonewall Diversity Champions Membership

2021-22 Financial Year

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has paid the following sums to Stonewall:

2016-17 to 2020-21 Financial Years

£0

2021-22 Financial Year

£3000 LeO Stonewall Diversity Champions Membership

In the period covering the last five financial years Criminal Case Review Commission has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Government Facility Services Limited has not made any payments to Stonewall.

As independent arm’s length bodies (ALBs), the decision on whether to allocate resources to a particular membership is one for the Accounting Officers of those ALBs. These decisions are taken within the ALBs’ internal systems of governance and control (which include the requirements of Managing Public Money and regard to MoJ and Cabinet Office spending controls) and generally do not require the approval of the Ministry of Justice.


Written Question
Criminal Cases Review Commission: Stonewall
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Tim Loughton (CON - East Worthing and Shoreham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what funds have been paid by the Criminal Cases Review Commission to Stonewall in each of the last five years; and to what projects those funds were allocated.

Answered by James Cartlidge

In the period covering the last five financial years, National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has paid the following sums to Stonewall.

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2020-21 Financial Year

£837.60 (formally NOMS) Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service conference attendance

2021-22 Financial Year

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years, Office of the Public Guardian has paid the following sums to Stonewall.

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2019-20 Financial Year

£552.00 Stonewall Conference Attendance

2020-21 & 2021-22 Financial Years

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years, the Department's Welsh Language Scheme has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years, Independent Monitoring Authority has not made any payments to Stonewall.

Please note that MoJ does not have a Probation Board. However, the Parole Board is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the MoJ. In the period covering the last five financial years, Parole Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Aid Agency has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Judicial Appointments Commission has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Youth Justice Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Services Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has paid the following sums to Stonewall:

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2020-21 Financial Year

£3000 Cafcass Stonewall Diversity Champions Membership

2021-22 Financial Year

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has paid the following sums to Stonewall:

2016-17 to 2020-21 Financial Years

£0

2021-22 Financial Year

£3000 LeO Stonewall Diversity Champions Membership

In the period covering the last five financial years Criminal Case Review Commission has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Government Facility Services Limited has not made any payments to Stonewall.

As independent arm’s length bodies (ALBs), the decision on whether to allocate resources to a particular membership is one for the Accounting Officers of those ALBs. These decisions are taken within the ALBs’ internal systems of governance and control (which include the requirements of Managing Public Money and regard to MoJ and Cabinet Office spending controls) and generally do not require the approval of the Ministry of Justice.


Written Question
Legal Ombudsman: Stonewall
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Tim Loughton (CON - East Worthing and Shoreham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what funds have been paid by the Legal Ombudsman to Stonewall in each of the last five years; and to what projects those funds were allocated.

Answered by James Cartlidge

In the period covering the last five financial years, National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has paid the following sums to Stonewall.

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2020-21 Financial Year

£837.60 (formally NOMS) Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service conference attendance

2021-22 Financial Year

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years, Office of the Public Guardian has paid the following sums to Stonewall.

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2019-20 Financial Year

£552.00 Stonewall Conference Attendance

2020-21 & 2021-22 Financial Years

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years, the Department's Welsh Language Scheme has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years, Independent Monitoring Authority has not made any payments to Stonewall.

Please note that MoJ does not have a Probation Board. However, the Parole Board is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the MoJ. In the period covering the last five financial years, Parole Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Aid Agency has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Judicial Appointments Commission has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Youth Justice Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Services Board has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has paid the following sums to Stonewall:

2016-17 to 2019-20 Financial Years

£0

2020-21 Financial Year

£3000 Cafcass Stonewall Diversity Champions Membership

2021-22 Financial Year

£0

In the period covering the last five financial years Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has paid the following sums to Stonewall:

2016-17 to 2020-21 Financial Years

£0

2021-22 Financial Year

£3000 LeO Stonewall Diversity Champions Membership

In the period covering the last five financial years Criminal Case Review Commission has not made any payments to Stonewall.

In the period covering the last five financial years Government Facility Services Limited has not made any payments to Stonewall.

As independent arm’s length bodies (ALBs), the decision on whether to allocate resources to a particular membership is one for the Accounting Officers of those ALBs. These decisions are taken within the ALBs’ internal systems of governance and control (which include the requirements of Managing Public Money and regard to MoJ and Cabinet Office spending controls) and generally do not require the approval of the Ministry of Justice.