Joint Committee on The Draft Corruption Bill Written Evidence


Supplementary memorandum from Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General (DCB 34)

  Thank you for inviting me to give evidence to the Joint Committee.

  In reply to Lord Campbell-Savours (Q 580) question, "If the DPP, him or herself, was the filter, would it be in order for him or her to consult with the Commission for Standards and Privileges", I indicated I would let you know of my views.

  Having given it some thought I am of the view that consulting the Commissioner would present difficulties. I could envisage providing some mechanism for him to make representations to the DPP. The House has many long standing rules and regulations and it would be beneficial if the Commissioner were in a position to highlight those that may be relevant to the matter under consideration, as well as ensuring that the DPP had before him all that he ought to be aware of before making his decision. I would think there would be difficulties though in sharing the evidence with the Commissioner so the communication could be rather one way. It is perhaps not as important how this is achieved. It could be by way of a protocol or a formal channel for representations or by some other means.

  I take this opportunity to deal with another matter. I was asked questions about clauses 15 and 16 (Q 593 to 595). After the Committee rose I intimated to Lord Campbell-Savours that I wanted to reflect further on the one point and would write to the Committee to clarify my views on this.

  The concern expressed was what happens in an authorised operation if a particular officer carries out a corrupt act which is part of the authorised operation but was not itself authorised. As I said in my evidence much will turn on the precision with which authorisations are given but the clauses provide adequate safeguards. The authorisation is given by the Secretary of State if he is satisfied the conditions specified in clauses 15 (4) to (6) are met, and these include the requirement that there are arrangements in force to secure that the acts or omissions, their nature and likely consequences are reasonable having regard to the purpose for which they are done or made and that no act or omission will be done beyond what is necessary for the discharge of a function of the Intelligence Services. If therefore the envisaged act or omission cannot be said to be either reasonable and/or necessary, it may not be covered by the authorisation and therefore may not be exempt.

  I would like to clarify part of my response where I said it is not the operation which is authorised. Whilst the Bill envisages that the particular acts or omissions may be specified or be of a specified description, it also envisages they may be identified as "acts or omissions done or made in the course of a specified operation".

  The immunity however, even is that case does not follow just from the authorisation of an operation; what matters is the form of the authorisation.

June 2003

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Prepared 31 July 2003