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Written Parliamentary Questions: 19th January 2006

Litigants in Person

Q:To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 December 2006, Official Report, column 1074W, on litigants in person, if she will assess the merits of increasing the rate at which litigants in person can claim costs.

A:The award of costs is a matter for the judge in the light of the circumstances of a particular case. Under the current rules of court, litigants in person can be awarded costs for the work done in connection with the case of £9.25 per hour. If, however he can prove a higher financial loss for that work he can claim that higher figure subject to an absolute cap on the amount recoverable of two thirds of the amount that would have been allowed if the litigant were legally represented. He can also claim his disbursements. The flexibility of the current system ensures that litigants are fairly compensated for the work carried out. The Government have no plans to review the current rates. (Vera Baird, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs)

Air Passenger Duty

Q:To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will revise the regulations applying to the increase in air passenger duty from 1 February 2007 to exclude flights already booked.

A:As the HMRC pre-Budget report note published on 6 December makes clear, the new rates will come into effect on 1 February 2007 and apply to the carriage of a passenger on an aircraft which begins on or after that date. (John Healey, Financial Secretary, HM Treasury)

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