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Investigatory Powers Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 19th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 5:45 pm, 19th July 2016

My Lords, perhaps this is a bit of light relief. Clause 77(1) defines what conduct is lawful when it comes to obtaining communications data, and Clause 77(2)(a) goes on to say that someone cannot be sued if what they do,

“is incidental to, or is reasonably undertaken in connection with”,

the lawful conduct defined in subsection (1). So far, so good. Clause 77(2)(b) goes on to say that someone cannot be subject to any civil liability in respect of conduct that,

“is not itself conduct for which an authorisation or warrant … is capable of being granted”,

under various acts set out in subsection (3) and,

“might reasonably have been expected to have been sought in the case in question”.

If I understand this correctly—and I am sure I have not—if that conduct could and should have been authorised but was not, they can be sued, but if it was not something that could or should have been authorised, no civil liability arises. Either that cannot be right, or it is capable of misunderstanding and should be changed. Can the Minister put the provision in plain English? Our amendment is probing to ensure that we know what we are dealing with. I beg to move.