Joint Committee On Human Rights Ninth Report


The Joint Committee on Human Rights has agreed to the following Report:—



1. So far this Session, we have produced six reports[5] on Bills before both Houses, giving our assessment of their compliance with Convention rights within the meaning of the Human Rights act 1998 and in relation to other human rights instruments.

2. We intend in time to produce regular scrutiny reports on legislation, detailing the questions we raise in relation to Bills, and the responses of Ministers and others to them. We also hope to review the changes to Bills made in both Houses which relate to those questions of human rights.

3. Meanwhile, in this report we—

  • publish a ministerial response to our report on the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill;

  • correct an error in our Fifth Report; and

  • list those Bills which we have examined so far this Session which we conclude raise no questions relating to the protection of human rights which require to be drawn to the attention of either House.

Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill

4. The Committee reported on this Bill in its Fourth Report.[6] The Bill is now before the House of Lords, having received a Third Reading in the Commons on 11 November 2001 and a First Reading in the Lords on 15 November.[7]

5. The Lord Privy Seal, the Rt. Hon. The Lord Williams of Mostyn QC, has responded to the report in a letter to the Chair of this Committee.[8]

6. Lord Williams takes issue with three particular points in our Fourth Report—

  • whether the selection of candidates by political parties falls within the ambit of the ECHR;[9]

  • whether political parties are public bodies for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998;[10] and

  • whether the EC Equal Treatment Directive or Article 141 EC apply to the selection of candidates for election.[11]

7. We recognize that these are complex issues of law on which opinions may legitimately differ widely. We consider that Lord Williams's view has much to be said for it. Without seeking to determine the issue in any way, we draw his letter to the attention of both Houses in order that it may contribute to a balanced debate.

Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill

8. We published our further report on the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill on 5 December.[12] At paragraph 29 we drew attention to the written submission of the Information Commissioner which was published with the report.[13] The context suggested that this evidence related to Part 3 of the Bill. In fact, as is immediately clear to any reader, the Commissioner's comments related to Part 11 of the Bill on the retention of communications data. The last two sentences of paragraph 24 should have appeared as the last two sentences of paragraph 29 of the report. We draw this error to the attention of each House.

Bills not raising Questions requiring to be drawn to the Attention of each House

9. In our view, the following Bills so far introduced in the 2001-02 Session do not raise questions relating to human rights which require to be drawn to the attention of each House.

Adoption and Children [House of Commons Bill 34]

Animal Health [House of Commons Bill 39][House of Lords Bill 37]

British Overseas Territories [Lords] [House of Lords Bill 4]

[House of Commons Bills 40, 64]

Christmas Day (Trading) [Lords][House of Lords Bill 13]

Civil Defence (Grant) [House of Commons Bill 4]

Commonhold and Leasehold Reform [Lords][House of Lords Bills 1, 22] [House of Commons Bill 51]

Consolidated Fund [House of Commons Bill 65]

Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) [House of Commons Bill 7]

Copyright etc and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) [House of Commons Bill 17]

Dignity at Work [Lords][House of Lords Bill 31]

Divorce (Religious Marriages) [House of Commons Bill 35]

Education [House of Commons Bill 55]

Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) [House of Commons Bill 6]

[House of Lords Bill 18]

Employment [House of Commons Bill 44]

Environmental Audit [House of Commons Bill 30]

European Communities (Amendment) [House of Commons Bill 3][House of Lords Bill 14]

European Communities (Finance) [House of Commons Bill 1] [House of Lords Bill 15]

European Union (Implication of Withdrawal) [Lords] [House of Lords Bill 6]

Export Control [House of Commons Bill 5] [House of Lords Bill 20]

Firearms (Amendment) [House of Commons Bill 27]

Firearms (Replica Weapons) [House of Commons Bill 41]

Food Labelling [House of Commons Bill 15]

Football (Disorder)(Amendment) [House of Commons Bill 26][House of Lords Bill 26]

Football Spectators [House of Commons Bill 21]

Health (Air Travellers) [House of Commons Bill 42]

Home Energy Conservation [House of Commons Bill 11]

Housing (Wales) [House of Commons Bill 18]

Human Reproductive Cloning [Lords][House of Lords Bill 27]

[House of Commons Bill 57]

International Development [Lords][House of Lords Bills 3, 9]

[House of Commons Bill 37]

Land Registration [Lords] [House of Lords Bills 2, 11, 17]

[House of Commons Bill 48]

Legalisation of Cannabis [House of Commons Bill 16]

Marine Wildlife Conservation [House of Commons Bills 8, 54]

National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions

[House of Commons Bill 47]

National Heritage [Lords] [House of Lords Bills 10, 24]

Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning (Amendment)

[House of Commons Bill 63]

Office of Communications [Lords] [House of Lords Bills 8, 28] [House of Commons Bill 73]

Parliament Act (Amendment) [Lords][House of Lords Bill 23]

Prime Minister (Office, Role and Functions) [House of Commons Bill 60]

Relationships (Civil Registration) [House of Commons Bill 36]

State Pension Credit [Lords][House of Lords Bill 30]

Tax Credits [House of Commons Bill 59]

Travel Concessions (Eligibility) [Lords][House of Lords Bill 5]

[House of Commons Bill 38]

Welfare of Ducks [Lords][House of Lords Bill 21]

5   First Report, Session 2001-02, Homelessness Bill, HL Paper 30/HC 314; Second Report, Session 2001-02, Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill, HL Paper 37/HC 372; Third Report, Session 2001-02, Proceeds of Crime Bill, HL Paper 43/HC 405; Fourth Report, Session 2001-02, Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill, HL Paper 44/HC 406; Fifth Report, Session 2001-02, Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill: Further Report, HL Paper 52/HC 420; Eighth Report, Session 2001-02, Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill [Lords], HL Paper 59/HC 474 Back

6   Fourth Report, Session 2001-02, Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill, HL Paper 44, HC 406, published 30 November 2001 Back

7   First reading (Commons); 17 October 2001: Second reading (Commons); 24 October 2001: Report and Third reading (Commons); 14 November 2001: First reading (Lords); 15 November 2001: Second reading (Lords) (provisional); 20 December 2001 Back

8   See Appendix Back

9   See para. 12 of our Fourth Report, op cit Back

10   See para. 15 of our Fourth Report, op cit Back

11   See para. 21 of our Fourth Report, op cit Back

12   Fifth Report, op cit Back

13   ibid, pp 1-3 Back

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