HC Deb 07 March 2000 vol 345 c562W
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas

To ask the Solicitor-General what training is being provided for Government lawyers to ensure that legislation is prepared to comply with human "right"s. [113453]

The Solicitor-General

The main responsibility for training rests with individual Departments which are best placed to identify the legal skills and knowledge required by their lawyers and the most economic and effective way of meeting those needs.

Training on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) has been provided, and is continuing to be provided, to all Government lawyers. This has taken the form of Civil Service/GLS wide Conferences (open to both lawyers and administrators) at which outside speakers including Judges and Counsel have spoken; two intensive one-day courses provided last year by the Civil Service College, in conjunction with the GLS, and to be run again this year; and internal training programmes run by individual Departments (but often open to lawyers from other Departments) where speakers have included both specialist Counsel and Government lawyers with ECHR/HRA expertise. In addition, many Government lawyers have attended the external training courses/seminars run, for example, by leading human "right"s sets of barristers' Chambers. The introductory course for all lawyers new to the GLS also includes a session on human "right"s.

Such training has meant that Government lawyers are fully equipped, not only to ensure that all new legislation complies with the European Convention on Human Rights, but also to advise their Departments on all human "right"s issues when they arise in the decision making process or in the context of litigation.