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Lord Howell of Guildford: I thank the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General for those replies. I accept fully the point he makes about the concern in relation to individuals associated with hideous crimes being allowed to abscond. That would be unacceptable.
I take also the point that he is concerned about rigid time limits and I am reassured by the use of his words about speed and expeditious treatment of those matters because that is an extremely important aspect not only of handling this sort of crime but of justice generally. So in the light of the noble and learned Lord's reply, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: I believe that this is a genuine misunderstanding because Clause 9 is concerned with the right of the Secretary of State to appeal against the refusal to make a delivery order. The amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, would give the same rights to the person named in that order; in other words, someone who has just been released is given the right to appeal against his own release. There is no new thing under the sun, as my father used to tell me, but this, really!
Lord Williams of Mostyn: I have said on other occasions that the other bit of advice my father gave me was to keep away from loose women and hypothetical questions. Alas, my experience is that the latter has been a more common experience than the former.
Our amendment is designed to make it clear that where the person does not speak English, he must be informed in his own language. That would bring the Bill into line with the language used by the statute itself. For example, Article 55 of the statute dealing with the rights of persons during an investigation provides that if a person is questioned in a,
I know that it will be said that English is one of the languages of the court and that "ordinary language" should suffice, but many languages are spoken and many individuals of British nationality may have difficulty with the English tongue. I believe that what the noble Lord, Lord Lester, suggests must be an improvement and a strengthening of the situation. I declare support for it.
Lord Avebury: The noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, may not have observed that the word "fully" occurs in the statute; for example, in Article 67, paragraph 1(f) where the accused is to have free of cost translations of documents,
Lord Williams of Mostyn: I sympathise with the point. In Clause 11(1)(b) we use the phrase "ordinary language" because it would be an injustice if one were to explain matters, in any language, in legal phrases so that a person could not understand, whether the person was English speaking or not. The words "ordinary language" are meant to refer to non-technical language that an individual can follow. We shall arrange for a guarantee that, where appropriate, anyone arrested under this Bill will have access to an interpreter in accordance with his rights under Article 55 and under Article 6 of ECHR.
I do not believe that there is any difference between us. The reasons for using the words "ordinary language" are the same as those that used to be binding on judges in the Crown Court when they put someone on probation. They had to explain the conditions in ordinary language. If an individual were in a foreign land he would want matters explained in language that
Lord Archer of Sandwell: I sympathise with the objectives of the Government in departing from the language of the statute. To some extent it may be an improvement on the language of the statute. But does my noble and learned friend appreciate that the language of the statute is, as it were, set in stone, that it is certainly beyond amendment in this Committee and that people will speculate as to why we departed from that language? Is any real harm done if we follow that?
The Earl of Onslow: If the noble Lord is saying that "ordinary language" is appropriate, which is eminently sensible, why can the clause not read, "ordinary language that he fully understands and speaks"? In those circumstances one would have the best of both worlds.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill: I do not understand the policy reason behind restricting--it is a more restrictive guarantee--the language that is already in the statute. I agree with the noble Earl. It seems to me that both forms of wording could be used: "ordinary language that the person fully understands and speaks". If the Bill simply says "ordinary language" it will not guarantee that the process will work so that one is sure that the accused speaks and understands the language. Let us use the wording of the statute on the face of the Bill to ensure that everyone understands that the guarantee is that the accused should be able to speak and to understand fully the language, whether because that language is used or because an interpreter is used.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Following the intervention of the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Lester, now agrees that his own amendment may not be without blemish. We are trying to safeguard the individual. I have said that an interpreter will be available to provide the explanation in ordinary language. The ordinary language is not about the whole basis of the charge that he may face; it refers to his rights under Clause 12, the right to review of the delivery order.
I shall certainly have a look at this matter. One problem is, for example, that in the extradition Acts there is a similar provision to the one that I have advanced here. The laborious duty of trawling through some analogous Acts will call into question the provisions in similar legislation. I shall consider the matter. I shall write to the noble Lord, Lord Lester, following discussions and I shall place a copy of the letter in the Library for those noble Lords who may be
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