Joint Committee On Human Rights Third Report

10. Letter from the Chairman to Messrs Bircham Dyson Bell, Agents acting for Nottingham City Council


The Committee is considering the above Bill. It has carried out an initial examination of it, and has formed the provisional opinion that, save in relation to the matter mentioned below, the Bill is compatible with relevant human rights obligations. The Committee would, however, be grateful for your comments on the following point raised by its Legal Adviser.

Powers of entry and inspection under clause 14 would engage the right to respect for private life and the home under ECHR Article 8.1, which is capable of extending to business premises.[61] The Committee accepts that safeguards in clause 14 should ensure that the entry and search powers necessary in a democratic society for a legitimate purpose under Article 8.2, subject to one caveat.

The Committee's reservation relates to confidential papers which are not subject to legal privilege, and to items subject to legal privilege in the hands of a person other than a solicitor. The Bill would not appear to import the protections for those classes of materials contained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (hereafter 'PACE'), section 9 and Schedule 1. Those protections were drafted in order to ensure adequate protection for the right to respect for private life and correspondence under ECHR Article 8, and for the right to a fair trial (to which lawyer-client privilege is essential) under ECHR Article 6.

It is the Committee's provisional view that the provisions of section 9 of, and Schedule 1 to, PACE should be imported into the Bill, to ensure compliance with ECHR Article 8. The Committee will shortly report this opinion to each House, and would be grateful for your views, which can be reported to the House in due course.

I am copying this letter to the Examiner of Private Bills.

21 January 2003

61   Niemietz v. Germany, Eur. Ct. H.R., judgment of 16 December 1992, Series A, No. 251-B, 16 EHRR 97 Back

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 January 2003