Examination of witnesses (Questions 38-59)|
MONDAY 19 MARCH 2001
38. Lord Chancellor and Mr Attorney, welcome.
It is a great pleasure to see you at the third public session
of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. I have no doubt that you
are as pleased to see this Committee is setting about its business
as we are. To date, we have examined in particular the Criminal
Justice and Police Bill and our first meeting was with the Minister
of State, Charles Clarke. Last week we were fortunate to have
the Home Secretary who was with us for a considerable time talking
about his view of the impact and likely effect of the Human Rights
Act. Obviously, that is the reason for asking you to appear before
us today and we are very grateful that you have juggled your diaries
so that you could be with us for today's meeting. I am conscious
that you both have meetings to go to and are up against a tight
timescale. We will do our very best to accommodate you. There
has been a lot of talk, not just in government, but, first of
all, in the White Paper Rights Brought Home, but now generally
about the establishment of a human rights culture in the United
Kingdom. Could I ask each of you to address this question, starting
with the Lord Chancellor? What do you understand by that expression?
Does it relate specifically to human rights or does it import
a notion of human values?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) The expression
that has been used is that the object of the Act is to promote
a culture of respect for human rights across the whole of society
and that refers, in particular, to the human rights which are
embodied via the Convention and the Act. What I mean and I am
sure what others mean when they talk about a culture of respect
for human rights is to create a society in which our public institutions
are habitually, automatically responsive to human rights considerations
in relation to every procedure they follow, in relation to every
practice they follow, in relation to every decision they take,
in relation to every piece of legislation they sponsor. A culture
of respect for human rights is one which shows a high degree of
sensitivity on the part of our public institutions to the obligations
that derive from the Act. Perhaps the best illustration of the
promotion of this culture of respect for human rights is the quite
bold provision in the statute that ministers have to make, or
not to make as the case may be, a certificate of compatibility
when they propose new legislation to Parliament. That means that
they and their departments have to apply their minds in a very
considered way to whether the legislation is compliant or not
with Human Rights Act obligations. If they do make this declaration
and in due course, rare event though that will probably be, the
higher courts make a declaration of incompatibility, the pressure
on them, which I suppose is a cultural pressure rather than an
obligation because of the terms of the Act, a cultural and political
pressure which will be on them to bring forward under the fast
track remedial legislation, is really very considerable pressure.
Part of the theory of the Act is that the sovereignty of Parliament
is undiminished but the political capacity of Parliament to influence
events and to encourage against that background that I have outlined
the bringing forward of remedial legislation is obviously very
great. That I think is the shortest elaboration that I could give
of a practical context for promoting a culture of respect for
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) We looked at it on the basis
that human rights attach to individuals. They are not donations
from an over-mighty executive. This is a specific piece of equipment
in the law which puts a yoke on the unfettered executive, was
designed to do that and was to establish that individuals have
rights as well as responsibilities in the context of a modern,
civil society. The second part to your question was: is this a
commitment to specific human rights or only to certain underlying
values. I do not regard that as an opposition. One has the rights
as a necessary, inevitable and welcome consequence of having the
values in the first place.
39. If that is the case, what is the limit on
those rights. If we have human rights culture, would it extend
just to what we describe normally as civil and political rights
or does it also extend to social and cultural rights?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) The Act is not promoting a
culture of respect for human rights beyond the human rights which
the Act itself, via the Convention, gives effect to. Whether more
grows out of it is another matter. We have to remember the various
balancing considerations in the Convention itself which no doubt
will be elaborated all the time by decisions of the courts which
may move into these broader areas.
Sir Patrick Cormack
40. Mr Attorney, you in your answer in effect
said the Act protects rights rather than confers them. Would that
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) It recognises and reinforces
rights that already subsisted in the common law tradition, though
perhaps not with the clarity that is described in this Act.
41. Do you think that the Act does indeed define
with adequate clarity the rights which you would wish to see protected?
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) An over-precise definition
in the Convention and therefore in the Act would have been a serious
mistake because, without being unduly chauvinist, the great glory
of the British common law has been that it has been able to develop
as circumstances require. This is an extraordinary opportunity
given for people to say and for the courts to decide is my private
and family life, for instance, adequately recognised in the context
of A, B and C? This is always going to be, as the Lord Chancellor
said, a developing process and it ought to be.
42. What would you say to the person who would
allege that this is a straitjacket for Magna Carta?
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) I would say that they have
not read it or, having read it, have not understood it because
it is simply an additional transfusion into that body of common
law which has always been the glory of our system.
43. How are you going to know that the human
rights culture has come about? We used to talk about output measures
and performance indicators. Have you any of those to judge whether
the human rights culture is happening?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) That is part of the purpose,
I dare say, of your Committee. You will be working out, I dare
say, means for yourselves of monitoring what you will regard as
success or not. I would say, for example, that the truly remarkable
amount of preparation that went in, in Whitehall, across all departments,
to estimate and evaluate major statutory provisions, practices,
procedures of the departments, to audit for Human Rights Act compliance
is itself a yardstick of success of the Act itself. I believe
it was very wise of the government to do what not everybody agreed
with, because we have waited for such a long time for a Human
Rights Act that there was an understandable impatience, which
I shared myself, to get on with implementing the Act; but when
I look back at it my belief is that taking time to prepare as
thoroughly as Whitehall did has borne dividends. In other words,
what we are looking for as measures of success is not merely the
courts saying that this, that or the other has to change, not
merely the courts saying, "We have rigorously to interpret
this piece of the statute in a way which will make it compliant",
and that might be said to be a measure of success, or you could
in one view of things say that a declaration of incompatibility
was a measure of success to the extent that it was then corrected
by government. A much stronger measure of success is voluntarism
and arriving at a state of affairs not where cases have to be
multiplied but where cases are less frequent because public institutions
have put their own houses in order. Coming back to what the Attorney
says, I basically of course agree with him too. We must not look
for a state of affairs in which everything which we did before
was wrong and everything therefore is going to have to be corrected
by this brave, new regime. The Attorney is absolutely correct
that a respect for human rights is imbued in the common law and
therefore it is unsurprising that there has only so far been one
declaration of incompatibility in the Alconbury case and
that is under challenge in the appeal to the House of Lords who
are considering their judgments. It is also true to say that the
reason for the need for a Human Rights Act is precisely because
statute law is perfectly capable of trespassing upon basic human
rights and, when it does so, the Act does give a new remedy and
a new right for citizens.
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) How do you measure it? First
of all, outcomes, methods and structures. The Crown Prosecution
Service, for instance, for which I have responsibility, has instructions
that human rights matters must be taken into account when the
decisions about prosecutions are made. We have issued new guidelines
on disclosure in criminal cases, which is part of the context
that we are discussing. There will be less successful appeals
to Strasbourg over the next five to ten years but in any eventI
agree with the Lord Chancellor entirelyif one looks for
a second at the case of Simms v The Home Office, and I
put in for emphasis the Home Office did not succeed, Simms is
a prisoner. He has no access to a right of appeal except investigative
journalists. The House of Lords say that he must have that access.
I do not myself regard that as a failure in consequence of the
Human Rights Act. I regard that as a blossoming success.
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) I think what has just come
from the Attorney is an extremely important point. When government
goes down, let us say, to a declaration of incompatibility or
when government loses a judicial review, that should not count
as a defeat. The notion of it being a defeat for government when
it does not win a case is an entirely wrong way of looking at
it. Of course, if I was a minister who was found to have acted
perversely or unreasonably, I would certainly regard that as a
defeat but, that apart, if a minister gets it wrong and then puts
it right because a court tells the minister to do so that should
not be regarded as being a defeat. This whole new culture arising
out of the Human Rights Act should be regarded as a cooperative
endeavour between the executive, Parliament and the judiciary
to deliver a new, rights based culture. So-called defeats or defeats
which may be hailed by the media as defeats for the government
should not be regarded as defeats but should be regarded as steps
on the road to the improvement of our governance.
44. The Committee is aware that you are both
leading advocates for the Act. Listening to both your previous
answers, it sounds as if you are pleased with the effect that
the Act is having in so far as you are able to judge within government
and the courts. Has the Act had any surprises up its sleeve, any
unexpected effect on departments and the courts, whether beneficial
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) These are very early days.
We must bear in mind that implementation was comparatively recent,
in October. I do not doubt that there are going to be many surprises
round the corner. I am sure that events will surprise us all but
I dare sayand I am not going to comment on the merit of
a particular decision or predict the likely outcome in the House
of Lordsthe declaration of incompatibility in relation
to the whole planning system made by a divisional court was surprising,
yes. The decision of Scottish courts which was to the effect that
the temporary sheriffs in Scotland were not independent because
of the manner of their appointment was something that I do not
think would readily have been predicted. However, we dealt with
it perfectly simply and straightforwardly in England, positively,
by introducing a new administrative procedure for the removalit
scarcely ever happens in any event, and has never happened under
me; it happened once under my predecessor, for a judgeand
we put in place new administrative safeguards which secure their
independence. There I would say positively good came out of it
because what we have now is a better system without dragging the
legislature through an administrative system of securing the independence
of the judges better. Yes, there are surprising events but you
recover from them and deal with them.
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) It is there to be the burr
in the saddle and make the horse buck. It is not departmental
processes that need to be examined but ways of departmental thinking.
That is the interesting thing to me and I have not been surprised
45. You referred to the fact that it is all
very new but in preparation for what we have in front of us your
Department undertook a very widespread training exercise for the
lay magistracy. How do you intend to evaluate the success of that
training programme and how are you going to continue it in the
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) There was a hugely extensive
training programme. We took a very bold decision in government,
looking back on it. We could have decided that the Human Rights
Act points were only to be taken in the higher courts but we decided
not. We decided that a Human Rights Act point could be taken at
any level in the court system. A Human Rights Act point could
be taken in the magistrates' court and there are 30,500 lay magistrates
in the country. The proof of the effectiveness of the training,
or the proof of its ineffectiveness as the case may be, would
be if you were getting absolutely bizarre decisions from magistrates'
courts, in lower courts, acceding to Human Rights Act points which
were fanciful and should have been rejected. There is no evidence
of that whatsoever as yet and therefore I would attribute that
either to the common sense of the individual but also take a little
bit of credit for the quality of the training. There are no bizarre
or aberrant decisions of which I can think. I well remember how,
when we had a whole new system of labour law, employment law and
industrial relations law in the 1970s, there were many aberrant
decisions of industrial tribunals up and down the country which
took quite a long time to be corrected by the higher courts. I
would attribute the absence of that state of affairs today, particularly
in the criminal jurisdiction where there is every temptation to
try a point for what it is worth, to the quality of the training
which was very intensive and has been much praised.
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) The Bar itself did training,
just by way of example, to complement that which the Lord Chancellor's
Department had set out. 4,600 members of the Bar, which is about
the total number of those who practise in crime, themselves went
on voluntary training. That was very encouraging. We worked together.
Secondly, we do have a mechanism, a fast track monitoring system,
where an official from the Lord Chancellor's Department meets
with officials from my Department, the CPS and the Serious Fraud
Office constantly to monitor cases that we may think need the
review and the second view of the higher courts. The court system
accommodates that with fast track appeals which are then recorded
and disseminated throughout, in my case, the whole of the criminal
justice system. That is extremely efficient and it actually works.
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) Another point that is worth
making is that the senior judges have been enormously helpful
in urging the judges of lower courts to take a severely practical
and sensible view about Human Rights Act points that are taken.
Nobody who is committed to the success of this new regime could
begin to regard with anything but horror the assertions that there
would be chaos in the courts as a result of the Human Rights Act.
The opposite has been the case. There has been no chaos. There
has been no delay and a large part of the success of this is attributable
to the senior judges who have urged the lower courts to appreciate
that this is a country which is highly respectful of human rights.
It would be extraordinary if the world had to be turned upside
down in this country as a result of the Human Rights Act, and
so it has proved.
46. Lord Chancellor, many would see the Act
as one of the great constitutional developments of recent years,
perhaps recent decades and centuries. The government has been
putting human rights as an important element of its agenda. You
and the Home Secretary perhaps though are amongst the few ministers
who seem to put human rights at the forefront of speeches which
you make. You have been asked questions in relation to the human
rights culture. Is there more that perhaps could be done in terms
of putting forward that human rights culture in other areas which
other ministers are dealing with and other departments are dealing
with when their policies are explained to the public?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) I suppose most of my colleagues
think they make quite a sufficient number of speeches as I do
and test the patience of the great British public as a result.
You are quite right that the Home Secretary has emphasised it
but the Home Office of course is in the lead on this piece of
legislation. I certainly have emphasised it but it is a highly
important piece of legislation and it does deserve being promoted.
No doubt this will be one of the good results to come out of your
47. One of the things that strikes me is it
is obviously right that you and the Home Secretary are two ministers
whose record in promoting the Human Rights Act has been exemplary,
although some would say that given your constitutional responsibilities,
if not you then who? There have been cases when I have wondered
why human rights points were not taken. Let me give an example.
When it was discovered that the hospital notes of a 68 year old
woman had "DNR" written on them, which turned out to
mean "do not resuscitate", and to all intents and purposes
she was a healthy woman, it strikes me that is a marvellous human
rights point which somebody in government could have raised, to
say, "Under the Human Rights Act, it will not be possible
for people to behave like this." It strikes me that there
have been occasions where some quite important opportunities have
been missed to show that the Human Rights Act is not a criminals'
charter, as some people would have us believe, and is not just
about the courts, the Crown Prosecution Service or about law but
is about the opportunities and the obligations for all of us.
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) I would not like it to be inferred
from my answers that I accept that the only ministers who have
advertised this important, new, legislative change are myself
and Jack Straw. I was present, for example, at an important speech
that the Prime Minister gave welcoming the American Bar Association
to London in the Albert Hall, with a very large audience. A large
part of his speech was devoted to recommending our introduction
of the Human Rights Act and spelling it out in the context of
the whole of our constitutional reform programme, but ministers
cannot be talking about the one thing all the time. I believe
that other ministers have likewise, in general speeches, referred
to this important area of reform.
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) We have to be propagandist
but not for ever. We need to be mechanics to make the car work.
The "do not resuscitate" was wrong. It did not require
the intervention of the Human Rights Act to point out that it
was wrong because even if we had not passed the Act it would still
have been wrong. There are other questions, for instance, on the
criminals' charter which is, I agree with you entirely, superficial
and ill informed. It is quite useful to remember that the application
made by the soldiers from the Parachute Regiment in the inquiry
which is going on at the moment in Northern Ireland for anonymity
was upheld by Lord Woolf substantially on the basis of their right
to life. I have made that point until I am blue in the face and
I have not found it reported anywhere.
Sir Patrick Cormack
48. Perhaps it will be now. This really follows
on from something the Lord Chancellor said a few moment ago, the
prophecy that the courts would be swamped and that this has not
happened. Do you expect the position to remain constant or do
you think we should expect a steady increase in cases?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) I do not really know. I am
a little surprised that there has been such a small, extra input
so far. I expect that as the Act beds down, as lawyers become
more familiar with it, there will be something of an increase
above the present level but nothing that the system is not geared
up to accommodate.
49. You almost anticipate my next question.
You do not think contingency plans as such are necessary?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) Contingency plans have been
50. Could you elaborate a little?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) Yes, certainly. Provision has
been made in my own budget for extra court sitting time and extra
provision of legal aid funds in Human Rights Act related cases.
I believe that that provision will prove sufficient for any increase
in business that results. The notion of chaos in the courts is
absolute nonsense. In fact, the speed of the system is increasing
regardless of the Human Rights Act business. Let me elaborate
that slightly. There are scarcely any cases, either civil or criminal,
which are exclusively attributable to the Human Rights Act. What
the Human Rights Act does typically is provide additional points
of argument in cases that would in any event be brought forward.
51. We do not have a swamping of cases; we do
have contingency plans; and yet you also said that you were somewhat
surprised that there had not been more use made. Could you elaborate
on that a little?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) Not really, because I thought
that there would be more. It is purely subjective. So far, I have
been proved to be wrong.
52. In what particular areas would you have
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) The area where typically we
might have expected more would have been in the area of the criminal
law in relation to Article 6. I am not saying that there has not
been increased business. The Attorney would be able to illustrate
from his experience new points that are being taken which the
Crown Prosecution Service must deal with, but all I am sayingand
this is not a scienceis that I am pleasantly surprised
that the volume of new business is not quite as great as was anticipated,
but I enter the precaution: we are a very short time in from implementation
and more work may emerge. The notion of chaos in the courts and
that the heavens would fall in was ever false and the prophets
of doom have already been proved false and will continue to be.
53. You have said that three times so it must
be true. Would the Attorney like to elaborate a little?
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) One of the very heartening
things to me was, having an oversight job on the whole of the
government legal service as well as the Crown Prosecution Service,
how much training was done, how confident lawyers in public service
had been in dealing with these points. There have been occasional
glitches. For instance, magistrates thinking that they have to
grant bail on every occasion except when evidence was called.
A number of cases went to the divisional court. The divisional
court put it right; end of story. The magistrates have to give
reasons. Of course they are going to be in trouble because they
have not given reasons in the past, but they should in their brain
have had the reasons ready for coming to their conclusions. It
is heartening that people have risen, quite willingly, to thee
new challenges. I get no indications at all that courts are being
held up. Quite the opposite. It may be that if the issues are
focused in the minds of prosecutors or government lawyers you
avoid the disabilities and the dangers before you get to involvement
with any part of the legal system, whether criminal or civil.
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) That is a very good example.
Under Article 6, in order to ensure a fair trial magistrates have
to give reasons. I doubt that there is anyone in this room who
would dispute that a reasoned decision for or against you is better
than an unreasoned decision. Nowadays, the magistrates consider
the requirements of the offence; they say whether the facts were
proved or not proved. They give an assessment of the credibility
of the witnesses in front of them and they then reach a decision
as to guilt or innocence. It takes a little bit longer but, on
the other hand, it does lead to a more structured decision making
process and one that gives greater satisfaction.
54. On the subject of the comparatively small
number of cases that have arisen from the implementation of the
Act, is there a possibility that in civil cases the fear of costs
may discourage people from raising what could be quite complex
human rights issues? It would be unfortunate if that was the case
obviously, but is there room for litigants who raise arguable
human rights points being excused from the potential liability
of their opponents' costs?
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) First of all, these Human Rights
Act points arise in cases which are going forward in any event.
Therefore, I do not think that there is a cost deterrent at all.
It would not be practical in a case to detach the costs that are
associated with arguing a Human Rights Act point which is bound
up with a lot of other points anyway. As far as legal aid is concerned,
the second highest category of cases for which priority is granted
for legal aid is Human Rights Act cases. The first category is
cases involving child care and the interests of children.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill
55. That is the first thing you have said that
I mildly and respectfully disagree with. Of course on the legal
aid front the guidance is admirable and gives a very high priority
to human rights but on the subject of costs 49 years ago Lord
Evershed's committee recommended that one ought to be able in
advance of a case, in some cases of public importance, to get
a judicial ruling that at any rate the applicant would not have
to pay the other side's costs in any event because of the public
interest in arguing it. My personal experience is that there are
people who cannot afford the deterrent effect of £10,000,
£20,000 or £30,000 worth of costs in a one or two day
judicial review and therefore do not bring the case. Would it
not be desirable to encourage the courts to widen their discretion
to be able to give a preemptive costs indiction in a particular
class of cases of real public importance so that at any rate the
litigant in that situation is not deterred? That is quite apart
from legal aid. I am only speaking of the other side's legal costs
and the threat of having to pay them under the usual rule.
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) I do recall that we did debate.
This point was raised during the Human Rights Bill. Views were
expressed. My own view is that I do not recognise this deterrent
on individuals who have good, soundly based Human Rights Act points
to raise. There are all manner of pressure groups in this country
which are very ready to support well founded Human Rights Act
points. I do not accept that there is a cost deterrent. However,
as ever, we listen to Lord Lester.
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) It is available in some
cases, I believe, in the case of Reynolds v The Sunday Times,
with which Lord Lester and I have a passing familiarity. If I
am not mistaken, I think that leave was given to The Sunday
Times to go to the House of Lords on the basis that Mr Reynolds
as a private individual would not have to pay the costs if he
56. I put my question badly. What I was seeking
was not about Human Rights Act cases; it is about all civil cases
like Reynolds in which an individual litigant may be deterred
from bringing the case because of the fact that he will not know
the costs consequences until afterwards. As Evershed indicated
half a century ago, there might be a casefor example, the
Attorney General, he recommended, to go to court and seek an appropriate
order in very unusual circumstances, but, as the Lord Chancellor
has said, this has been debated in the Human Rights Act context.
It does seem to me to raise an Article 6 problem in general if
someone is deterred from bringing a case because they are not
eligible for legal aid and they are threatened by the costs of
the other side.
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) There is work that I am
doing at the moment. Increasingly now, the law officers are getting
asked to provide amicus or amici curiae to
argue cases perhaps on discrete principle in the higher courts.
That has been increasing, so I am now working through, I hope,
a protocol which will indicate areas where the amicus would
be suitable. In some of those cases the "ordinary" litigant
will not be troubled at all. It is very much a first step. That
work is going on at the moment and should be completed in the
next four to six weeks.
Baroness Perry of Southwark
57. My question relates to the ministerial statement
of compatibility with new Bills. You have been a shining example
of revealing the thinking behind the statement and the reason
for the belief that it is compatible, but I was very struck by
the Lord Chancellor's answer to the question about the culture.
A tremendous amount of work goes on in government departments
in searching through clauses of a Bill to make sure compatibility
permeates the entire Bill. It would be enormously helpful to have
some of that background reasoning and thinking rather than simply
a bald statement, particularly for Parliament. Do you think it
might be given voluntarily rather than this Committee, for example,
asking for evidence from government departments?
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) It is certainly possible.
The downside is that one is going to have endless screeds about
pros and cons and reasons. Not all departments need to take the
law officers' advice on a particular section 19 statement. I would
not like there to be endless litigation about the reasoning behind
the section 19 statement. Having signed some of them, it is a
solemn occasion when you are putting your fingerprint down on
history and people do take it very seriously. What would trouble
me would be the endless argument and litigation about whether
or not the basis of the section 19 statement could be upheld.
I think both of us prefer to be open rather than not. We would
certainly look at that as experience develops.
58. I can see the difficulty for litigation.
In the one and only experience we have had with the Criminal Justice
and Police Bill, it was enormously helpful to expose the thinking
behind the statement.
(Lord Irvine of Lairg) It really depends upon how
many processes we require. I am not expressing necessarily a closed
mind or hostility to the suggestion at all but it is a very large
step for the minister to give his certificate of compatibility.
Then the matter can be tested in Parliament. Amendments can be
put down. Contentions can be advanced that the Bill, in this,
that, or the other respect, is not compatible and there can be
very thoroughgoing debate in Parliament on that subject. Who is
to say that the minister might not change his mind and then accept
an amendment or bring forward a government amendment? We must
not devalue the role of Parliament in this process, but this Committeeam
I right?did seek in relation to the Criminal Justice and
Police Bill an explanation from Charles Clarke of the thinking
behind a declaration of compatibility. No doubt he would have
offered it as of course it would be offered in Parliament in debate
on committee on any Bill where these issues arose. The reason
for my hesitation about the suggestion is that, if you arrive
at a view that the Bill is compatible with the Convention, to
set out an elaborate range of potential arguments why it might
not be and why you wrestled with them and why you have overcome
them seems to me to be rather self-indulgent. It seems to be an
excess of process, perhaps. Once you have come to that view, surely
it is Parliament's function to explore the declaration of compatibility.
The means exist within committee stages and of course there is
the backstop of this Committee to follow the interesting, I thought,
innovative course of asking for an explanation in relation to
a particular declaration on a Bill of a Minister of State.
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) Particularly if you have
a very large Bill. Say it was the Government of Wales Bill. If
it is eight parts and endless schedules, it is very difficult
to give a reasoned justification why every dot and comma in every
part of it is compatible. If we have particular requests which
tend to be focused on particular aspects of the Bill and particular
clauses, as the Lord Chancellor says, I think that is probably
a more fruitful way of going about it.
59. Supposing in the futureand we do
not know what the future workings of this Committee will bethe
report to Parliament that this Committee made did highlight certain
areas of controversy, where there had been difficulty in the human
rights aspects of the Bill. It would be helpful then, rather as
the Delegated Powers Committee publishes with its reports comments
from the government department concerned, to have something like
(Lord Williams of Mostyn) Which we always respond
to extremely fully, extremely promptly, in correspondence to the
committee and then find it very difficultnot possible,
in my experienceto persuade the house that the Delegated
Powers Sub-Committee was wrong.