Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 14th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Pannick Lord Pannick Crossbench 5:30 pm, 14th November 2018

My Lords, I too am concerned about the subject, and I agree with the comments that have been made. The right to confidential legal advice is fundamental to the rule of law. The right to consult a solicitor is simply pointless if it is not to take place in private—a client will not speak freely in those circumstances. Therefore, any restrictions must be necessary and proportionate. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Marks, that it is vital to look for more proportionate means of addressing the Government’s legitimate concerns. I also agree with him that a way forward is to adopt the approach that the client ought to be able to speak freely to any solicitor unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that that solicitor will not act in accordance with his or her professional obligations. Regrettably, there have been cases of such solicitors, although they have been very few, and it seems to me entirely disproportionate to prevent access to confidential legal advice because of the misbehaviour of a few rogue solicitors. We can deal with rogue solicitors in other ways.