Joint Committee On Human Rights Third Report

Conclusion and recommendations

77. We draw the following conclusions to the attention of each House—

On the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill

  • We consider that the Lord Chancellor's Department's guidance on treatment of human rights issues in Explanatory Notes to Bills represents good practice, and saves time for Departments and the Committee by avoiding the need for the Committee to raise with Departments questions which could be adequately answered in Explanatory Notes (paragraph 4 above).

  • In relation to customer information orders and account monitoring orders, we consider that there is a need for additional safeguards for ECHR Article 8 rights. We recommend that: (a) there should be an express requirement for the applicant to disclose to the judge information relevant to the application, including the information which weakens the case for the order, except for information about the identify of confidential sources and information that would endanger lives or national security; and (b) there should be an express requirement for judges to include among the terms of a customer information order or an account monitoring order any restrictions which the judge thinks necessary to ensure that action under the order would be compatible with ECHR Article 8.2 (paragraph 15 above).

  • In relation to surveillance by foreign investigators in the United Kingdom without authorisation, we do not accept that ECHR requirements apply, as a matter of law, to all investigators from all member states even when operating extra-territorially (paragraph 21). We draw attention to the importance of including on the face of the Bill the conditions for establishing proportionality under ECHR Article 8.2 (paragraph 24 above).

  • In relation to the amendments to allow mutual recognition of freezing orders in respect of terrorist assets, we accept that the justifications and safeguards are likely to be sufficient to avoid incompatibility with Convention rights. We welcome the Government's decision to introduce the new powers through primary legislation, rather than by giving effect to the EU Framework Decision on the execution of orders freezing property and evidence, so far as it applies to terrorist assets, by way of Order in Council (paragraph 27 above).

On the Hunting Bill

  • We have asked the Department why it considers that it is justifiable under P1/1 to fail to compensate people for the loss that would flow from their inability to perform contracts entered into before the Bill is passed. We will report further when we have received and considered the Department's reply (paragraph 38 above).

On the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill

  • We draw attention to the fact that the Explanatory Notes do not deal adequately with the Convention rights which the Bill engages, but on the substance of the Bill we take the view that the provisions do not give rise to a significant risk of violating Convention rights (paragraphs 44 and 48 above).

On the Community Care (Delayed Discharges) Bill

  • We are of the view that the Bill does not give rise to a significant risk of incompatibility with Convention rights (paragraphs 51 and 58 above).

On the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

  • We recommend that the Government should lay before each House information about the training to be given to civilian support officers before they start to exercise the powers of police officers in pursuance of the Bill (paragraph 59 above).

On the Public Services (Disruption) Bill

  • We draw the correspondence between our Chair and Lord Campbell of Alloway to the attention of each House (paragraph 68 above).

On the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (Repeal) Bill

  • We do not consider that the Bill has human rights implications requiring the attention of either House (paragraph 69 above).

On the Nottingham City Council Bill

  • We consider that the provisions of section 9 of, and Schedule 1 to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 should be imported into the Bill in order to provide adequate safeguards for the right to respect for private life and correspondence under ECHR Article 8 in respect of confidential material, including that subject to legal professional privilege, where the powers of search and seizure proposed in the Bill are exercised (paragraph 76 above).

78. We consider that the Bills considered in this Report do not require to be drawn to the attention of either House at the present time on human rights grounds except in relation to matters specifically mentioned above.

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