Legislative Scrutiny: (1) Children and Social Work Bill; (2) Policing and Crime Bill; (3) Cultural Property (Armed Conflict) Bill Contents

3Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill

88.The Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill is designed to enable the United Kingdom to implement the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954 and the Protocols to that Convention of 1954 and 1999.54

89.We called for evidence on the Bill and our Deputy Legal Adviser met the Bill team. Subsequently, we wrote to the Government on 29 June.55 We raised two issues of concern. The first related to the maximum penalty for ancillary offences under Part 2 of the Bill (Clause 4).56 This had been set at 30 years which appeared potentially disproportionate. The second related to an immunity from seizure provision which was worded in such a way that it purported to give objects protected under it complete immunity from seizure under any other legislation or rule of law (Clause 28). On the latter point, we pointed out that a similar provision in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 had been made subject to both international law and EU obligations. This point was also raised in correspondence by the House of Lords Constitution Committee.57

90.Following the Government’s response on 8 July58, we decided not to issue a report on the Bill; but instead proposed two amendments at Report Stage in the House of Lords. These were tabled by Lord Woolf, Baroness Hamwee and Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood (a former Supreme Court judge who is not a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights).

91.The amendments were considered on 6 September 201659 and were debated, but eventually withdrawn. During the course of the debate, Lord Brown observed (in relation to the question of maximum sentences) that: “it is a pity that Parliament looks by this to be a little out of touch. The maximum penalties cease to have quite the same conviction if they lose perspective.”60

92.We draw the attention of both Houses to the concerns we raised about Clauses 4 and 28 of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill. We regret the Government’s reluctance to consider amendments to the Bill on these specific points notwithstanding the criticism that they attracted from a number of quarters during Report Stage in the House of Lords.


54 See Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages, Lords Library Note, LLN-2016–0029, May 2016

55 Letter from Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Chair, to Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE, CMG, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, June 2016

56 In relation to breaches of Article 15 of Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

57 Letter from Rt Hon the Lord Lang of Monkton, DL, Chair, House of Lords Constitution Committee, to Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE, CMG, June 2016

58 Letter from Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE, CMG, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, to Chair, July 2016

59 HL Deb, 6 September 2016, cols948–952 and 954–957

60 HL Deb, 6 September 2016, col951




© Parliamentary copyright 2015

13 October 2016