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Lord Campbell of Alloway: I would be grateful to hear from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor whether there is any objection to Amendment No. 6. I do not want to go into all the business about Mr. Murdoch and BSkyB, but if there is an objection perhaps the noble and learned Lord will let us know. If there is no objection, surely there is no need to consider these purpose clauses because they would serve no valid purpose. If we have to consider them, then for the reasons that have been given, I am quite certain that the drafting of Amendment No. 2 is far more appropriate than that of Amendment No. 1. There is no question in my mind about that.
I wonder whether, if Amendment No. 9 were to be accepted, that would not dispose of any necessity to consider the adequacy of the excuse for not incorporating Article 13 or the need for a purpose clause in the form drafted by the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. I shall not take up much time and then I shall sit down, but perhaps your Lordships would look at Clause 2 on page 2, which states:
If those words were to be incorporated on the face of the Bill, they would dispose of the necessity for a purpose clause. In those circumstances--although in other circumstances purpose clauses may be a very good thing, I must confess that I am not a purpose clause man; some people are, but I do not happen to be--I do not have a serious objection to it.
Baroness Carnegy of Lour: It seems to me that this Bill of all Bills should as far as possible be expressed simply so that ordinary people can understand what it does for them. If Article 13 is not to be incorporated and if there is to be a main object clause, it is important that that clause states precisely what the Bill does and is not at all vague about suggesting what it might do. Amendment No. 2, which has been proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, seems to me as a lay person to be extremely clear. If the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, is correct, Amendment No. 1, which has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Lester, suggests that the Act would secure in law rights to everyone within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom when in some cases it does so only indirectly by legislation by delegation, for example. If that is the case, it would be a somewhat confusing main object clause and I would very much prefer Amendment No. 2.
That is a reflection of Article 13 of the convention. Amendment No. 1 would go even further, seeking to insert a main purposes clause, reflecting Articles 1 and 13. Amendment No. 6 would alter the definition of the convention rights by requiring the substantive rights and freedoms of the convention and the first protocol to be read with Article 13 as well as with Articles 16 to 18.
Amendments Nos. 3 and 12 are even more direct. They require the courts to give effect to Article 13 as well as other small convention rights prescribed in the Bill. We are not persuaded thus far by the debate that it is either necessary or desirable to amend the Bill in this way. The Bill gives effect to Article 1 by securing to people in the United Kingdom the rights and freedoms of the convention. It gives effect to Article 13 by establishing a scheme under which convention rights can be raised before our domestic courts. To that end, remedies are provided in Clause 8. If the concern is to ensure that the Bill provides an exhaustive code of remedies for those whose convention rights have been violated, we believe that Clause 8 already achieves that and that nothing further is needed.
We have set out in the Bill a scheme to provide remedies for violation of convention rights and we do not believe that it is necessary to add to it. We also believe that it is undesirable to provide for Articles 1 and 13 in the Bill in this way. The courts would be bound to ask themselves what was intended beyond the existing scheme of remedies set out in the Bill. It might lead them to fashion remedies other than the Clause 8 remedies, which we regard as sufficient and clear. We believe that Clause 8 provides effective remedies before our courts. It is noteworthy that those who have supported these amendments have not suggested any respect in which Clause 8 is deficient.
The very ample definition of public authority in Clause 6 makes it plain that there is no intention to protect persons acting in an official capacity. On the contrary, our definition of public authority in that clause could not be wider. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, may nourish suspicions, but I assure him that there is nothing to be suspicious about.
At Second Reading I informed your Lordships that if Parliament chose to establish a committee on human rights the Government would welcome it. I said that one of the functions of that body might be to keep the protection of human rights under review. If for any reason which escapes me--none has been pointed to--it appeared to that committee in the light of the operation of this Bill that the remedial provisions of Clause 8 should be strengthened in some way, the Government would give serious consideration to that. But we would expect that committee to set out clearly the effect that its proposed amendments was designed to have. That is what we have sought to do in the Bill. It is noteworthy by its absence that the arguments put before the Committee by those who propose these amendments fail to state any respect in which Clause 8 is deficient.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill: I am most grateful to the noble and learned Lord for giving way. Before he continues his helpful explanatory speech perhaps he can clarify one matter. Is it the intention of the Government that the courts should not be entitled to have regard to Article 13 and the case law of the Strasbourg Court on that article in cases where it would otherwise be relevant? I give an example. In recent cases brought against Turkey, where there has been torture without adequate police investigations, the European Court has said that regard must be had to Article 13 rather than Article 6 because it is the former that requires an effective post mortem. Is it the intention of the Government that in cases where the European Court has said that the right provision is Article 13 and not Article 6 our courts should wear blinkers and are not allowed to look at Article 13 or the Court's case law? I am not clear from the speech of the noble and learned Lord so far whether that is the intention. If so, how can it possibly comply with our convention obligations?
Lord Campbell of Alloway: Before the noble and learned Lord sits down, perhaps I may be allowed to deal with this point. I specifically asked the noble and learned Lord what was the Government's objection to this. One has a schedule containing the articles of the convention but Article 13 is left out. Why? What is the objection to leaving it in? I have listened with great care. If I have missed the point I apologise for this intervention but at the moment I do not understand. Perhaps the noble and learned Lord will make the position clear so that even I can understand it.
My response to the second part of the question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Lester, is that the courts may have regard to Article 13. In particular, they may wish to do so when considering the very ample provisions of Clause 8(1). I remind your Lordships of the terms of that provision:
Knowing the remedial amplitude of the law of the United Kingdom, I cannot see any scope for the argument that English or Scots law is incapable within domestic adjectival law of providing effective remedies.
My answer to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, is that to incorporate expressly Article 13 may lead to the courts fashioning remedies about which we know nothing other than the Clause 8 remedies which we regard as sufficient and clear. Until we are told in some specific respect how Clause 8 is or may reasonably be anticipated to be deficient we maintain our present position.
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