Submitted by the Attorney General's Chambers
Thank you for your letter of 9 June addressed to
Russell Hamblin-Boone. You asked for a fuller explanation as to
why it was necessary to withhold the information in the circumstances
of three particular answers.
The information withheld concerned the content of meetings
between a lawyer from the CPS and the Kingdom of Spain. As is
explained in the answer, the relationship in extradition proceedings
between the CPS and the requesting country is that of a private
lawyer acting for a foreign client. As such, there is a clear
duty of client confidentiality. That it is to say the information
provided the client (the Kingdom of Spain) to the lawyer (the
CPS) is confidential and covered by legal professional privilege.
Information subject to legal professional privilege is exempt
from disclosure under paragraph 4(d) of Part II to the Code of
Practice on Access to Government Information (Second Edition)
This question asked the Attorney General to disclose external
legal advice taken by Her Majesty's Government on the legality
of NATO operations against Serbia. Such advice is subject to legal
professional privilege. It is not discloseable under the Code
for the reasons given in the preceding answer and I do not think
that there is anything further that can usefully be added.
Hayes v. Attorney General
Question  asked the Attorney General to place in the
library copies of witness statements disclosed in the case of
Hayes v. Attorney General. This request was refused because the
statements are subject to legal professional privilege. As is
mentioned under 1 above, information covered by legal professional
privilege is exempt from disclosure under the Code. Such information
is confidential between lawyer and client.
The following question  asks if the Attorney General would
list the documents disclosed and place copies in the library.
This request was refused on the basis that compliance would breach
the duty of confidentiality owed to third parties. This refusal
is consistent with paragraph 4 of Part II of the Code, in particular
16 June 2000