HC Deb 06 March 1996 vol 273 cc242-3W
Mr. Barry Field

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account he has taken of the recent extension of the powers of coroners to investigate deaths occurring outside the United Kingdom in the context of his consideration of legislation relating to crimes against children committed by United Kingdom citizens abroad. [18612]

Mr. Maclean

Coroners have jurisdiction to inquire into deaths abroad only where the deceased has been returned to England or Wales and there is reason to suppose that the statutory grounds for holding an inquest are met. The evidential requirements and the procedures applicable in coroners' courts are, of course, different from those of criminal courts and it is difficult therefore to make any meaningful comparisons between the two systems.

Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what external legal advice he has received about enacting United Kingdom legislation relating to crimes committed abroad by United Kingdom citizens against children of other countries. [18611]

Mr. Maclean

As part of its consideration of what measures might be taken to tackle the problem of British nationals committing offences against children in other countries, the Government have sought advice and information from a number of sources. In particular, we have contacted the relevant authorities in a number of countries, and received from them details about their law, and its application, in this area.

We have also received advice from non-governmental organisations. The Coalition on Child Prostitution and Tourism, for example, submitted independent legal advice in connection with one aspect of our research, and has also undertaken to provide further information in connection with the inter-departmental review of extra-territorial jurisdiction, which was announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary on 1 February.

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