Draft Corruption Bill
52. The Government has published for consultation
a draft Corruption Bill, with Explanatory Notes.
It is drafted on the basis of Law Commission Report No. 248 on
the subject, published in 1998.
The purposes are to codify the various criminal offences of corruption
at common law and under statute, and to ensure that the law of
corruption applies in the same way to all, including members of
the two Houses of Parliament. The law of parliamentary privilege
would be amended so that Members charged with corruption would
no longer be able to benefit from the prohibition on the use of
Hansard as evidence in criminal proceedings.
In addition, a civil remedy for damages is envisaged for people
who suffer loss or damage as a result of corruption. This would
enable the UK to ratify the Council of Europe Civil Law Convention
53. A Joint Committee of both Houses, chaired by
the Rt Hon the Lord Slynn of Hadley, has been established to report
on the draft Bill. Lord Slynn has written to the Chair of the
JCHR asking for the JCHR's views on the human rights compatibility
of the legislation. Lord Slynn points out that human rights were
not as significant when the Law Commission reported as they now
are. At the time
of Law Commission Report No. 248, the Human Rights Bill was before
Parliament but had not yet been passed.
54. We have examined the Bill and considered its
human rights implications. In the Explanatory Notes to the draft
Bill, the Government writes:
We do not think that there is anything in the draft
Bill that conflicts with the Convention. Indeed, it repeals a
provision of existing legislation (section 2 of the Prevention
of Corruption Act 1916), which risks being deemed as incompatible.
55. In our view, the Government is right to conclude
that no Convention rights are engaged by the Bill in a way that
threatens incompatibility. We would go further: in our opinion,
the Bill is compatible with human rights under the other human
rights instruments which bind the United Kingdom in international
56. We therefore report that there is nothing
in the Draft Corruption Bill which needs to be drawn to the attention
of either House on human rights grounds.
54 Corruption: Draft Legislation, Cm. 5777
(London: The Stationery Office, 2003), presented to Parliament
by the Secretary of State for the Home Department Back
Law Commission No. 248, Legislating the Criminal Code: Corruption
(published 3 March 1998) Back
This would give effect to a recommendation of the Joint Committee
on Parliamentary Privilege in June 1999: HL Paper 43/HC 214 of
1998-99, para. 167 Back
See the Foreword to the Draft Bill by Lord Falconer, op. cit.
n. 1 above, p. 5 Back
The letter from Lord Slynn of Hadley is published in an appendix
to this Report, Ev 4 Back