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Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Solicitor-General – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 18th March 2004.

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Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Solicitor General (Law Officers), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 11:30 am, 18th March 2004

The hon. Gentleman raises several important points. I can assure him that two safeguards are in place as regards any change to trial systems. Such proposals would, first, have to come before this House for its approval following debate and discussion; and, secondly, they would have to be compliant with our international obligations under the European convention on human rights as enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998.

As for whether closer work between the Crown Prosecution Service and the police could contaminate the independence of the CPS, the answer is emphatically no. It is a good idea for the police to have early advice on the nature of the charge and what evidence would be admissible. That does not impede the independence of the Crown Prosecution Service, but it will ensure that the police are able effectively to progress the investigation and that the trial works properly.