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Council Of Europe Conventions

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the conventions of the Council of Europe that the United Kingdom has still to ratify and the reasons why these conventions have not been ratified by the United Kingdom. [112050]

1. Protocol no. 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, securing certain rights and freedoms other than those included in the Convention and in Protocol no. 1—signed 16 September 1963

The UK has not ratified because the extent of the obligation regarding right of entry is unclear. There are no present plans to ratify, but the matter remains under consideration.

2. Convention Relating to Stops on Bearer Securities in International Circulation—signed 28 May 1970

Austria, Belgium, France and Luxembourg, which were the four parties, have denounced the Convention which has since ceased to be operative.

3. Convention on the Establishment of a Scheme of Registration of Wills—signed 16 May 1972

English law has been amended to enable compliance with the Convention in England and Wales (1982 Administration of Justice Act). The UK is unable to ratify because Scottish law has not been amended to enable the Convention to be ratified. The Scottish Executive do not see ratification as a priority.

4. European Convention on the Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms by Individuals—signed 28 June 1978

Ratification would require amendments to be made to the Firearms Act 1968. There are no plans to make such amendments as the UK has already ratified UN and EC instruments on weapons control. Ratification is unlikely.

5. European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter—signed 10 May 1979

The UK could not ratify at the time of signature, as domestic legislation was more restricted in its scope than the Convention. The EC approved the Convention in 1988, and in 1993 its requirements were incorporated in Directive 93/119/EC, which was implemented in the UK in 1995. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been seeking Ministerial agreement from the relevant departments and the devolved administrations. Ratification is likely in early 2004.

6. Protocol amending the European Social Charter—signed 21 October 1991 and

7. European Social Charter (Revised)—signed 7 November 1997

The Department for Work and Pensions is keeping under review how the Revised Charter will operate and, with other interested departments and the Devolved Administrations, will consider the provisions of the original Charter in the context of future decisions about ratification of the Revised Charter.

8. Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Llife at Local Level—signed 5 February 1992

Ratification of this convention remains under consideration by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

9. European Convention relating to questions on Copyright Law and Neighbouring Rights in the Framework of Transfrontier Broadcasting by Satellite—signed 2 October 1996

The UK could not initially ratify this convention until EEC Directive 93/83/EEC had been implemented. There is an agreement among EU member states that they should ratify simultaneously. Until all member states have the necessary legislation in place, ratification cannot take place.

10. Agreement on Illicit Traffic by Sea, Implementing Article 17 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances—signed 31 January 1995

The Home Office has not yet found a suitable legislative slot to enact the new legislation required to proceed with ratification. We will continue to look for such a legislative slot, and restart the ratification process when one becomes available.

11. Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning higher education in the European Region—signed 7 November 1997

The instrument of ratification was signed by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 6 May 2003. The UK will ratify this convention in the very near future.

12. Criminal Law Convention on Corruption—signed 27 January 1999

Before the Convention had entered into force, the Home Office considered it desirable, although not necessary, to reform domestic law on corruption before ratifying the Convention. However, it remains uncertain when the draft Corruption Bill will proceed and, following the entry into force of the Convention in 2002, the balance of the argument has changed. We intend to ratify in the near future.

13. Civil Law Convention on Corruption—signed 8 June 2000

Certain minor amendments are needed in relation to UK law on limitation of civil actions to enable ratification to take place. Relevant provisions have been included in the Corruption Bill, which was recently published in draft, and will be taken forward when a legislative opportunity arises.

14. European Convention on the Promotion of a Transnational Long-term Voluntary Service for Young People—signed 19 September 2000

The Department for Education and Skills will not be pursuing ratification of this Convention. It closely mirrors an existing EU scheme and as such, ratification would lead to a duplication of work.

15. Additional Protocol to the European Agreement on the Transmission of applications for Legal Aid—signed 4 October 2001

The Lord Chancellor's Department has established that no primary legislation is needed to proceed with ratification. They are in the process of preparing an Explanatory Memorandum on this protocol. Ratification is therefore expected to take place in the latter half of 2003.

16. Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows—signed 8 November 2001

17. Second additional Protocol to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters—signed 8 November 2001

The Explanatory Memorandum for this protocol has been laid before Parliament. The Crime (International Co-operation) Bill must be given Royal Assent before ratification can progress. This is likely in late 2003, with ratification following in early 2004.

Convention on Cyber Crime—signed 23 November 2001

New legislation will be required in order to ratify this convention. The principal cause of delay has been finding Parliamentary time for this legislation. Ratification is expected in late 2004 at the earliest.

19. Protocol no. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in all circumstances—signed 3 May 2002

Ratification is expected in June 2003. The Explanatory Memorandum is currently laying before Parliament under the Ponsonby rule.