Disclosure of Information Held by Government Departments

Orders of the Day — Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 7th June 1995.

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  1. '.—(1) Subject to subsection (4) below, the Court of Session may on an application by the Lord Advocate order any material mentioned in subsection (3) below which is in the possession of an authorised government department to be produced to the Court within such period as the Court may specify.
  2. (2) The power to make an order under subsection (1) above is exercisable if—
    1. (a) the powers conferred on the Court by section 91(1)(a) of this Act are exercisable by virtue of section 92(2) of this Act; or
    2. (b) those powers are exercisable by virtue of section 92(3) of this Act and the Court has made a restraint order which has riot been recalled.
  3. (3) The material referred to in subsection (1) above is any material which—
    1. (a) has been submitted to an officer of an authorised government department by a person who holds, or has at any time held. realisable property;
    2. (b) has been made by an officer of an authorised government department in relation to such a person; or
    3. (c) is correspondence which passed between an officer of an authorised government department and such a person;
    and an order under that subsection may require the production of all such material or of a particular description of such material, being material in the possession of the department concerned.
  4. (4) An order under subsection (1) above shall not require the production of any material unless it appears to the Court of Session that the material is likely to contain information that would facilitate the exercise of the powers conferred on the Court by section 91(1)(a) of or paragraph 1 or 12 of Schedule 3 to this Act or on an administrator appointed under paragraph 1(1) of that Schedule.
  5. (5) The Court may by order authorise the disclosure to such an administrator of any material produced under subsection (1) above or any part of such material; but the Court shall not make an order under this subsection unless a reasonable opportunity has been given for an officer of the department to make representations to the Court.
  6. (6) Material disclosed in pursuance of an order under subsection (5) above may, subject to any conditions contained in the order, be further disclosed for the purposes of the functions under Part II of this Act of the administrator or the High Court.
  7. (7) The Court of Session may by order authorise the disclosure to a person mentioned in subsection (8) below of any material produced under subsection (1) above or any part of such material; but the Court shall not make an order under this subsection unless—
    1. (a) a reasonable opportunity has been given for an officer of the department to make representations to the Court; and
    2. (b) it appears to the Court that the material is likely to be of substantial value in exercising functions relating to the investigation of crime.
  8. (8) The persons referred to in subsection (7) above are—
    1. (a) a constable;
    2. (b) the Lord Advocate or any procurator fiscal; and
    3. (c) an officer within the meaning of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
  9. (9) Material disclosed in pursuance of an order under subsection (7) above may, subject to any conditions contained in the order, be further disclosed for the purposes of functions relating to the investigation of crime or whether any person has benefited from the commission of an offence to which this Chapter applies or the amount of that benefit.
  10. (10) Material may be produced or disclosed in pursuance of this section notwithstanding any obligation as to secrecy or other restriction upon the disclosure of information imposed by statute or otherwise.
  11. (11) An order under subsection (1) above and, in the case of material in the possession of an authorised government department, an order under section (Order to make material available) (2) of this Act may require any officer of the department (whether named in the order or not) who may for the time being be in possession of the material concerned to comply with such order; and any such order shall be served as if the proceedings were civil proceedings against the department.
  12. (12) Where any requirement is included in any order by virtue of subsection (11) above, the person on whom the order is served—
    1. (a) shall take all reasonable steps to bring it to the attention of the officer concerned; and
    2. (b) if the order is not brought to that officer's attention within the period referred to in subsection (1) above, shall report the reasons for the failure to the Court of Session,
    and it shall also be the duty of any other officer of the department in receipt of the order to take such steps as are mentioned in paragraph (a) above.
  13. (13) In this section "authorised government department" means a government department which is an authorised department for the purposes of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947; and subsection (10) of section (Order to make material available) of this Act shall apply for the purposes of this section as it applies for the purposes of that section2.—[Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.