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Privileges and Conduct - Motion to Agree

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Woolf Lord Woolf Crossbench 3:45 pm, 30th April 2019

Perhaps the Senior Deputy Speaker can confirm that. If that is the case, I suggest that it is a mistake; I hope that the investigators will be experienced. They may not have the particular qualifications of a barrister, but they may be familiar with legal proceedings and able to play a prominent part in the informal domestic forum I hope will exist in respect of these complaints. Even if they are not lawyers and they do not have previous experience, in time they would develop it by doing the very job that a lawyer often does. The important thing is that the commissioner should have skilled assistance because she is not meant to do everything herself. She should be able to delegate, as is proposed in the report.

The other matter I will refer to is the powers of appeal. As has been said, they are similar to those on judicial review. Those who have experience of judicial review will know, as I do very well, that it can be an excellent form of appeal, especially in respect of tribunals of the sort which are involved in investigating these complaints. The powers on judicial review are attuned to the purpose of ensuring that the role of justice is properly protected and it is of significance that reference to judicial review is made on the final page of the report. It is right that that should be so.

For the reasons I have indicated, I hope that this will mark a real improvement. I am sure that what existed before this report should not be allowed to continue any longer if that can be avoided.