Joint Committee On Human Rights Fifth Report

Conclusion: in the light of the above discussion, would it be appropriate for Parliament to authorise renewal of the powers under sections 21 to 23 of the ATCS Act?

60. In the light of the limited evidence available for us to scrutinise, we are unable to express our own view of the desirability or lawfulness, in human rights terms, of continuing to operate sections 21 to 23 of the ATCS Act. However, we take the view that the continuing role of Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. in monitoring and reporting on the operation of these provisions is being performed in a thorough and rigorous way, with access to all relevant evidence. We consider that the letter from Lord Newton of Braintree, who chairs the committee of Privy Councillors appointed to review the whole Act under section 122, indicates that that committee will also take a thorough and rigorous approach and have access to all relevant material. Once it gets fully under way, hearing substantive appeals, we consider that SIAC is likely to provide adequate safeguards for the Convention rights of detainees, subject to the points made above in relation to the availability of legal assistance and the role of the special advocate. We take into account the views of SIAC and the Court of Appeal in relation to the justification for the derogation from ECHR Article 5.1.

61. Having regard to all these matters, we consider that it would be justifiable, on human rights grounds, to continue the operation of the provisions in question for a further year, as long as each House is satisfied as to the matters drawn to its attention above.

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