HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 cc1179-80W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken by the embassy in the United Arab Emirates to contact lawyers on the embassy list on behalf of Mr. Clark since 20 February; and with what results. [64364]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

[holding answer 25 June 2002]: At the meeting with my noble Friend Baroness Amos on 20 February 2002, your constituent, Jason Clark, told us that his father was unable to find a lawyer to represent him. He understood that his father had tried, without success, all the lawyers on our embassy list.

Following the meeting, embassy staff spoke with a local law firm on our list on 5 March 2002. Firstly, they advised us that any local lawyer would require a substantial fee in advance, and secondly, if Mr. Michael Clark were to recommence legal action, his appeal for clemency might not be considered by the Abu Dhabi authorities while proceedings were on-going. They also had no record of Michael Clark getting in touch with them previously.

We advised Michael Clark accordingly. We also reminded him that our staff are not, able to appoint a lawyer on behalf of a British national. However, if he wished to pursue a legal case, our offer to assist putting him in touch with a local lawyer remained. We also said that it would be helpful to us if he could list the local lawyers he had already tried.

This issue had been discussed previously with Michael Clark himself during a meeting at the embassy on 20 January. However, at that time, he did not want to pursue any legal action.