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Earl Russell: There is a distinction to be made. Judicial review goes to the procedure, not to the merits.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Judicial review is not simply limited to procedure. It relates to reasonableness as well.

Earl Russell: I was well aware of that. But it does not normally relate to the main body of the merits. Let us suppose that someone wished to contest the rule under Clause 10 on the grounds that the Home Secretary had mistaken his nationality. Disputes about nationality are by no means unknown. Is that going to be excluded?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Disputes about nationality under Clause 10 have nothing to do with judicial review, except if, on Wednesbury principles or procedure principles, the judicial review can bite. If the Home Secretary comes to a factual conclusion which is unreasonable, then the courts can act in appropriate

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cases. That has always been the case in this country and the general development of judicial review indicates that.

Earl Russell: Of course I understand that. A conclusion may be "reasonable", and yet nevertheless it may actually be incorrect. In such a case I want to find out what is the position under this Bill.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I cannot produce hypothetical answers to every conceivable question that may be put by the noble Earl. If the Secretary of State comes to a conclusion which is procedurally inappropriate, irrational or unreasonable on Wednesbury grounds, he is still liable to judicial challenge.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 11 agreed to.

Clause 12 [Security on grant of entry clearance]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 31:

Page 8, line 6, leave out ("In such circumstances as may be specified,").

The noble Lord said: We move from the wide spaces and great heights of the previous discussions to small pieces of nitty gritty. Amendment No. 31 stands in my name and that of my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Drumadoon.

Clauses 12 and 13 seek to confer powers on the Government to enable them to introduce a financial bond scheme for visitors to the United Kingdom. At present, this is proposed under Clause 12 in such circumstances as may be specified. It is an extremely wide provision. The purpose of the amendment is to try to stipulate the circumstances when a financial bond will be required. It is a question of certainty in the law and of people knowing where they stand.

Amendment No. 32, in the same grouping, is at least one attempt to set out the type of circumstances which the Secretary of State might like to set down. We are not trying to be prescriptive with this collection of circumstances but to suggest the type of circumstances which might be included in the Bill. I do not, therefore, propose to discuss in detail the different reasons we have proposed in Amendment No. 32. They could be discussed in more detail if the Government were prepared to agree that a little more detail should be given as to the specific circumstances in which they think this power might be used. I beg to move.

Viscount Brentford: When I read this clause I thought that this seemed a very odd phrase; namely,

    "In such circumstances as may be specified".

Therefore, I commend the amendment moved by my noble friend to the Committee. I wondered whether the phrase meant "in such circumstances as may be specified in the immigration rules". If that is the case, I wonder whether that could be put on to the face of the Bill. That would help to clarify what is meant by,

    "In such circumstances as may be specified".

Clearly, there are advantages in writing the circumstances involved on to the face of the Bill to make them crystal clear. However, the Minister may say

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that the circumstances may need to change from time to time and it would be an encumbrance if they were written into the Bill. However, I strongly feel that some amendment is needed to this phrase, which I consider to be unsatisfactory.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: We, too, support Amendments Nos. 31 and 32. It seems to us that they improve the Bill and make it clearer. They indicate precisely the circumstances in which a bond might be required. Given the fact that we would hope to wish the scheme well, it seems that Amendments Nos. 31 and 32 assist in making plain to people who are involved in the possible bond scheme, the terms under which they are entering into such a scheme. We support the amendments.

Lord Dholakia: I support the comments made by my noble friend Lady Williams. One concern I have is how this clause is to be interpreted. Is it possible for the Home Office to issue criteria or guidelines in terms of the bond that would be required? The reason I ask is that those of us who have experience of immigration cases know that those who are rich, can afford to pay. Many people do not have those resources but would like to visit relations and other people in this country, but they could be deterred from coming here completely. There should be some written criteria which can easily be understood by the immigration officers. Applicants coming to this country would then know precisely what the requirements were and there would be less chance of discrimination against young people and poorer people.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I am grateful for the opportunity to say a little about this provision. The Secretary of State would specify by immigration rules the circumstances in which security may be required, how that security should be given, and the circumstances in which it would be forfeit. That the Secretary of State must specify by immigration rules is made explicit in Clause 12(7), which states that "specified" means "specified by immigration rules". Subsections (4) and (6) of Clause 12 set out what the rules must specify. There is no lack of clarity about the way in which the clause is designed to operate.

The amendment seeks to specify two types of case where financial security may be required and specifies them as exhaustive circumstances; namely, where the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds for believing that an applicant would not leave the United Kingdom within his permitted period of leave, and where the applicant has a previous conviction for dishonesty. It would be inappropriate to include those provisions in the Bill because the point is already dealt with by immigration rules and is too limited.

In regard to the circumstances proposed in the amendment, I suggest, with great diffidence, that they are misconceived for two reasons. In relation to the first one--namely, that the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds for believing that an applicant would not leave the United Kingdom--if the Secretary of State did believe that, he could not grant leave to enter in the first

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place, and the issue of security would not arise. The purpose of the bond scheme is to deal with a borderline case, not with a case where he reasonably believes that that person will not enter.

The second criterion--where an applicant has a conviction for an offence involving dishonesty--is also unhelpful. There will be many cases where some minor act of dishonesty in years past is, frankly, neither here nor there when it comes to assessing a prospective visitor's intention to leave the United Kingdom. It would be impracticable in many cases to check someone's criminal record, at least not without substantially delaying the application. Such information is hardly likely to be volunteered by applicants.

I appreciate that the noble Lord, Lord Cope, is not saying that this is exhaustive. I also appreciate that this is a probing amendment. I hope that I have explained the situation sufficiently and dealt with the noble Lord's questions. I invite the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Avebury: Would it not be slightly more elegant to say in subsection (2) "in such circumstances as may be specified by immigration rules" instead of the definition specified in subsection (7)? Then one can do without subsection (7) altogether.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The reason why it is dealt with in that way is because, as the noble Lord will have spotted, the word "specified" appears in subsections (1), (2) and (6) of Clause 12.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: It is irritating when one thinks of a good way to shorten a Bill and discovers that it does not work. But it happens frequently to me so I have sympathy with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, in this case. I am grateful for the Minister's response and in the circumstances beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 32 not moved.]

Clause 12 agreed to.

Clauses 13 to 15 agreed to.

10.30 p.m.

Clause 16 [Supply of information to Secretary of State]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 33:

Page 11, line 34, leave out paragraph (e).

The noble Lord said: Section 16 provides for all sorts of information held by public sector departments to be passed to the Secretary of State to be used for "immigration purposes". Such public sectors are the police, Customs and Excise and "any specified person". That appears to take the clause wider than simply government departments. It does not say "any specified person within government" but one assumes that that is what is meant.

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Amendment No. 16 draws attention to the purposes for which the information may be supplied. Subsection (2) states:

    "The information may be supplied to the Secretary of State for use for immigration purposes".

But on closer examination "immigration purposes" turns out to mean, according to subsection (3)(e),

    "such other purposes as may be specified".

It is not therefore confined to immigration purposes; it is any purpose which is specified.

I realise that freedom of information is highly fashionable these days, but so is personal privacy. And this clause relates to personal information. One of the strengths of this country is that, though different departments of the government machinery possess information on individuals, those individuals can rely on that information remaining within that department.

Government centrally has become rather leaky--I do not intend that to be a reference to the present Government; the previous government were not much better (though I would argue that they were a little better)--but departments like the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise and the police are extremely reliable in looking after the information on the citizens with whom they come in contact. One cannot say that about other countries.

From time to time Parliament has given permission for different departments within government to pass information from one department to another, but it does so very reluctantly. This is therefore an extremely wide power. If it was solely for the purposes of improving immigration control, it may be understandable, but a phrase like,

    "such other purposes as may be specified",

is extremely wide and takes it potentially way outside the purposes of immigration. I beg to move.

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