Public Immunity Certificates

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th November 1992.

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Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Witney 12:00 am, 25th November 1992

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has made clear, public interest immunity must be claimed for departmental papers if they fall within a recognised class or contain material which it would in principle be contrary to the public interest to disclose. A Minister will only sign a certificate after he has personally considered whether papers fall within the claim. It is for the court to determine whether the claim is valid and, if so, to balance the public interest in confidentiality against the interest of justice in the particular case.