Data Protection Bill [HL] - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:43 pm on 13th November 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Immigration) 5:43 pm, 13th November 2017

My Lords, these amendments, in my name and those of the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe, and the noble Lord, Lord Arbuthnot, may not be the most difficult or most significant that we will come to, but they are important and they deal with an issue brought to us by the Bar Council. I am aware that members of the Bar Council met officials and I believe that some of the matters throughout the Bill that they discussed were left with officials to consider—and, no doubt, with the Bar Council as well. I am not aware that this matter has been settled. The amendment would remove the paragraph from Part 3 of this schedule and put it in Part 2 and would extend the exemption recognising practicalities. Briefly, the issue is the term “legal claims”.

The Bar Council makes the point that this phrase does not adequately describe all the work that lawyers and all parts of the profession undertake on behalf of their clients. There is a risk, therefore, that legal professionals will not be able to process special categories of personal data when undertaking legal advice relating to prosecutions, defences to prosecutions and criminal appeals, family and child protection proceedings and so on, or—noble Lords may think that this should not come within this category—legal advice relating to tax or a proposed transaction. The Bar Council is rightly concerned, of course, to ensure that legal professionals can process such data when undertaking activity which is squarely within the scope of its normal work but beyond what might be described by the narrow term, “legal claims”. The amendment includes wording which is about to be put to the Committee in the form of government amendments which have already been debated and brings the matter of the legal activity listed in the new clause and the government amendments into Part 2 of Schedule 1. I beg to move.