The pre-legislative Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill was appointed yesterday and had its first meeting this morning. On 4 November, the Home Office published the enclosed draft Human Rights Memorandum to accompany the draft Bill. The draft Memorandum offers the Home Office’s view on the provisions in the draft Bill which it considers engage human rights considerations.
The Joint Committee considered the draft Memorandum at its first meeting and, in view of the importance of the human rights dimension to this inquiry, agreed that the views of the Joint Committee on Human Rights would be most valuable and should be sought at the earliest possible opportunity. Accordingly I am writing to you to request that your Committee consider the memorandum with a view to giving the Joint Committee advice on the provisions covered in the memorandum as well as to make any other comments which your Committee feels are relevant to our scrutiny of the draft Bill.
The time available for our scrutiny is unusually short, and I would be most grateful if the Committee was able to offer a view before the two Houses rise for the Christmas recess.
I am copying this letter to the JCHR clerk, Robin James, and to the Lords clerk of the Joint Committee on the draft Bill, Duncan Sagar.
Thank you for your letter of 26 November asking my Committee to consider the draft Human Rights Memorandum accompanying the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill with a view to advising your Committee on the provisions covered in the Memorandum plus any other comments my Committee might have about the Bill.
As you may be aware, the Joint Committee on Human Rights was one of the last committees to be established following the General Election and since it was constituted at the end of October it has had a very full programme of work. The Committee and its staff have been fully occupied with its other priorities, including its inquiry into the Government’s policy on the use of drones for targeted killing. As my Committee’s staff made clear to your Committee’s staff at the beginning of December, it has therefore not proved possible to consider the human rights implications of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill in time to be of assistance to your Committee in its consideration of the Bill.
My Committee will of course scrutinise the Bill itself for human rights compatibility when it is published.