Joint Committee On Human Rights Fourth Report


59. The Nottingham City Council Bill aims to combat property crime by establishing a register for dealers in second-hand goods in the City of Nottingham, making it unlawful to trade in second-hand goods without being registered, and conferring powers on the authorised officers of the Council, as well as police constables, to enter premises and inspect and seize goods for the purpose of ascertaining whether an offence has been committed under the Act. We reported earlier[47] that we had raised with the promoters and their agents the possibility that clause 14, which confers the powers of entry etc., might lead to a violation of the right to respect for private life and correspondence under ECHR Article 8, because clause 14 contains no protection for confidential material equivalent to the protection provided by section 9 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in respect of seizure of evidence by constables in criminal investigations.

60. The Agents for the promoters of the Bill have responded in a letter to our Chair dated 29 January 2003. They suggest amending clause 14(7), which already protects legally privileged communications, so that it would also protect other forms of confidential material.[48] In our view, such an amendment covering excluded material and special procedure material, as defined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, would adequately answer our concerns. We therefore welcome the proposal, and draw it to the attention of each House.

47   See our Third Report of Session 2002-03, Scrutiny of Bills: Further Progress Report, HL Paper 41/HC 375, pp. 26-27, paras. 70-76, and Ev 11-Ev 12 Back

48   See the letter from the promoters' solicitors and parliamentary agents, reproduced as an Appendix to this report, below, Ev 22 Back

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