Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:42 pm on 29th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Judge Lord Judge Chair, Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill [HL] Special Public Bill Committee, Convenor of the Crossbench Peers 5:42 pm, 29th July 2020

My Lords, I support these regulations but voice two reservations relating to the rule of law which might arise on future occasions. First, in his Statement, the Minister in the other place said that, in practice, people designated would be able to request a review from the Minister and be able to challenge the decision in court. Those words were repeated here today by the Minister. Let me make it clear that in the context of due process, this is not simply a matter of practice; it is not simply a matter of the Executive’s good will in deciding to offer their benevolences to individuals. Due process is a matter of entitlement and of principle. I invite the Minister to confirm at the end of the debate that the ordinary principles of judicial review will apply, in relation to both a review and a challenge in court.

The other point arises from the creation of criminal offences by statutory instrument, which under Regulation 32(1)(d) carry a sentence of seven years’ imprisonment, no less. This system of creating criminal offences by statutory instrument is extremely suspect. Such offences need to be created by primary legislation. Many of us, on all sides, during the passage of the primary legislation, raised our concerns about these issues. They remain, but the Act has been passed.

I suggest that if these times had been different, and if these particular provisions were not so heartening, obviously justified and very long overdue, my welcome might have been far less enthusiastic. I suggest to the Minister that he should not try to do this too often.