Amendment 6

Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - Committee (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 24th November 2020.

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Lord Paddick:

Moved by Lord Paddick

6: Clause 1, page 1, line 19, at end insert—“(3A) In section 27(2) of that Act insert—“(c) is not criminal conduct authorised in accordance with the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2020.””Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment will ensure that victims of crimes authorised under this Bill can seek civil redress.

Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My Lords, in moving Amendment 6, in my name and that of my noble friend Lady Hamwee, I will speak also to the other amendments in this group.

Section 27(2) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 states:

“A person shall not be subject to any civil liability in respect of any conduct of his which … is incidental to any conduct” that, for the purposes of this Bill, is authorised by a criminal conduct authority. Our Amendment 6 removes this immunity from civil liability. My support in the last group should make it absolutely clear to the Committee that I feel that that is the solution to this problem. It would be only in the very unfortunate circumstance that those amendments are not incorporated into the Bill that I would revert to this amendment.

This part of RIPA was intended to deal with the interception of communications. This might involve placing a listening device in a car or a room or intercepting phone calls, text messages or emails. This could be done only if it was authorised in advance by an Investigatory Powers Commissioner and by the relevant Secretary of State, and against only the most serious criminals, such as terrorists. While intercepting communications is a serious matter, the physical or financial harm to the—suspected—very bad person targeted is likely to be minimal.

The criminal conduct authorities—CCAs—under this Bill authorise undercover operatives to commit crimes in which innocent members of the public could be involved and seriously harmed. A frequent scenario in the past would have been recruiting a member of a gang of armed robbers, who was allowed to participate in an armed robbery during which, by either accident or design, the undercover operative working for the police may have harmed the security guard, potentially very seriously.

Noble Lords will also be familiar with—and other noble Lords have already mentioned—undercover police officers befriending and entering into sexual relationships with environmental activists. Despite the Government’s implied promise at Second Reading that such things would never happen again, in fact, what the Government have said is that an undercover operative would never be “authorised” to have sex with someone they were tasked to enter into a relationship with, not that it would never happen again.

There are two clear and distinct issues here, where someone may seek civil damages. One is where the handler authorises a CHIS to engage in a crime in a way that is not lawful, necessary or proportionate. The other is where the CHIS, whether an undercover officer or, potentially, a member of a terrorist group who passes information back to the police, goes beyond the authority of a CCA.  This could be something

“incidental to any criminal conduct” they have been authorised to do.

An undercover police officer could argue that he had no choice but to become intimately involved with the activist he was tasked to befriend, and that even if the sexual activity was not specifically authorised, it was “incidental to” the conduct that he was authorised to engage in. To grant him, and potentially the police force concerned, immunity from being sued for damages in such circumstances is repugnant. This illustrates that RIPA was never intended for, and is ill suited to, granting immunity under criminal conduct authorities.

The Government will say that, even if the CHIS evades civil action, the police force that tasked him, for example, will not. However, that seems to be cast into doubt by what the Minister said in the first group about the extent of the immunity granted, in that that immunity would extend also to the person tasking the CHIS. Again, there are two distinct issues with this.  The first is that if the conduct authorised under a CCA is “lawful for all purposes”, it seems to me that the police force, too, is immune from civil action. The second is that—I speak from personal experience in the police service, as others have—racist and sexist behaviour in police forces reduced only when police officers and their police chief found themselves personally liable for their behaviour. If they had not acted in the course of their duties as a constable, the chief constable could deny vicarious liability, and the officer would be personally liable for any damages. It is the threat of legal action, whether criminal or civil, that ensures that handlers and CHISs keep within the law. Removing civil liability from a CHIS would remove another important check on their behaviour.

We cannot support Amendment 8, for a number of reasons. First, it says that criminal conduct under the authority of a CCA is lawful for the purpose of the criminal law. Clearly, we do not agree with that. As I have argued in the previous group, we do not believe that that should be the case. Secondly, it requires the authorising body to indemnify the CHIS against having civil action taken against him. For the reasons I have just explained, the personal liability of the CHIS in such circumstances is an important check on their behaviour.

Amendment 71 would allow a complaint to be brought before an Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which may award compensation. But there is normally a time limit of one year after the taking place of the conduct to which the complaint relates, which seriously reduces the scope for compensation to be applied for, compared with the normal seven-year limit for other civil actions. I do, however, believe that the proposal has some merit, and perhaps with further adjustment it may be more acceptable. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Massey of Darwen Baroness Massey of Darwen Labour

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, with his eloquence and experience. I shall speak to Amendment 8.

I am a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. This committee scrutinised the Bill, received expert opinion on it and made the report referred to earlier, most recently by my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton. This report raises many issues of human rights that will need to be teased out and possibly resolved as we go through this Bill.

Amendment 8 is there so that victims of criminal conduct carried out under criminal conduct authorisation can access compensation. This is from paragraphs 104 to 110 in chapter 8 of the report. The report notes that the Bill as introduced is potentially incompatible with human rights legislation. Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights requires the UK to secure the rights of all those within its jurisdiction, including victims of crime. Where crime also amounts to a human rights violation, the victim has a right to an “effective remedy” under Article 13, mentioned earlier. A victim also has a right, under Article 6, to have any claim relating to his or her civil rights and obligations brought before a court or tribunal.

Since the Bill would render all authorised criminal conduct “lawful for all purposes”, it would prevent a victim of authorised crime vindicating their rights by bringing a civil claim for compensation. It would seemingly also prevent a claim for compensation under the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

My amendment mirrors the regime in Australia, which, as the report states,

“provides indemnification for any participant who incurs civil liability in the course of an undercover operation.”

In other words, a civil claim can be brought against the perpetrator by the victim, and compensation secured, but the state will then step in to indemnify the perpetrator against his or her losses. The effect of this provision would be to ensure that the person authorised to carry out criminal conduct

“would not suffer the consequences of civil liability, but it would also ensure that the victim of the conduct would obtain civil redress while secrecy is maintained.”

This Bill has been described as promoting the concept of “one size fits all”, framed more eloquently by my noble friend Lady Chakrabarti. It is simply not acceptable or possible to do that. In relation to my Amendment 8, I have mentioned specific issues on human rights legislation, which is the core of the report I have quoted today. I look forward to the Minister’s response.

Photo of Lord Dubs Lord Dubs Labour

My Lords, I am also a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, along with my noble friend Lady Massey, and I am speaking in support of Amendment 8. My noble friend has put the case so well that I am just going to add one or two very minor comments. I am going to do so by quoting from the recommendations in the report that the Joint Committee put forward—a report that has set the tone for much of the debate and many of the amendments that we are discussing today. To quote from the recommendations:

“By rendering criminal conduct lawful for all purposes, the Bill goes further than the existing MI5 policy by removing prosecutorial discretion. The reason for this change in policy has not been made clear. It has significant ramifications for the rights of victims. The Government has missed an opportunity to include within the Bill provision for victims of authorised criminal conduct, both legally and practically. This is another reason why the Bill requires additional safeguards to ensure there can be no authorisation of serious criminality.”

I will go on very briefly to the next recommendation in the Joint Committee’s report, which is:

“The Government must explain why the existing policy on criminal responsibility, which retained prosecutorial discretion, has been altered in the Bill to a complete immunity. Victims’ rights must be protected by amending the Bill to ensure that serious criminal offences cannot be authorised. In respect of civil liability, the Government must confirm that authorising bodies will accept legal responsibility for human rights breaches by CHIS or alter the Bill to provide that CHIS will be indemnified rather than made immune from liability.”

This is a very clear proposal, and this is a very clear amendment that would safeguard the rights of individuals who will otherwise have no rights left if the Bill goes through unamended.

Photo of Lord Cormack Lord Cormack Conservative 4:30 pm, 24th November 2020

My Lords, I have considerable sympathy with the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, in moving his amendment. It has been a very instructive afternoon, sitting here and listening to the previous, very long but extremely enlightening debate. The more I listened and the more I reflect on what we are discussing, the more uneasy I am about the Bill. I do not dispute the need—any more than the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, or the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, or anybody else has disputed it—to recognise that for the greater safety of the nation, we have to allow some of these things to happen. However, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, made a very sober and sensible suggestion about perhaps having some special committee to look at this.

The Bill has far-reaching tentacles, because we are not just talking about the security services. We are talking about a whole range of agencies; we will come to that next week and I have tabled some amendments to delete most of those agencies. But we are discussing a really serious Bill, with far-reaching and unknowable implications. I am bound to say that I very much warmed to the suggestion of the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, that we refer to “undercover operatives” rather than CHISs. I was delighted when my noble friend took that up in his speech. I urge him to use that term henceforth, not something that the world outside will not understand if they turn on “Yesterday in Parliament” in a fit of insomnia.

Given the extraordinary wealth of legal experience that we have in this House—we have a former Lord Chancellor answering from the Opposition Front Bench —and that we have people who have experience in the police, and all the rest of it, we really are equipped to give this the most careful scrutiny, and we should. It deserves no less and demands no less. I hope that as we go through Committee and prepare for Report, where there will be some serious issues to debate and possibly to divide on, we will have at the back of our minds the suggestion of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the others who have tabled amendments in this group. I pay huge respect to him for his experience in this field. In the words of the noble Lord opposite, the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, stands out as one of the few who have personal experience of this. One listens with great respect to him when he shares his views with the House on occasions such as this.

All three amendments in this group seek to achieve the same thing: to enable those who have been victims of the crimes authorised under the Bill to seek civil redress. I congratulate my noble and learned friend Lord Stewart of Dirleton, the Minister, on his sterling debut performance and his manner in approaching the Bill. I think we are all extremely grateful to him. I listened carefully to the words he used in summing up on the previous group of amendments. Following on from the third direction case, I heard him refer to placing responsibilities on a statutory basis and I think he has the support of all the House in this. That is the whole purpose of the Bill and I lend him my personal support in that regard.

I also heard my noble and learned friend say, and I hope I heard correctly, that civil redress is not excluded. In regard to this small group of amendments, is it the case that civil redress is not excluded? Are there any limitations, either under the Bill or the current law as he understands it, on civil redress being so required? If that is the case, I am sure he will be able to tell us that these amendments, albeit well-intentioned, may not be needed. Personally, I would obviously welcome civil redress in that regard and these amendments are very helpful in enabling us to probe him on that.

Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour

My Lords, we are indeed fortunate to have working for us, in both Houses, the Joint Committee on Human Rights. I find its reports invariably well argued and well researched. The arguments and logic of those reports are not to be easily dismissed. We have been fortunate this afternoon to hear the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, and my noble friend Lord Dubs putting their experience on the committee at our disposal. They have argued the case very well.

It is unthinkable that innocent members of the public who are adversely, and perhaps grievously, affected by covert action have no clear means of recourse. That needs to be clarified and written into the Bill. It is also important that those involved in all such covert action, which must be authorised by people with judicial authority and experience—the will of the House has come across clearly in all the debate—have limits on what can and cannot be done, and who is to be held responsible and in what way. These amendments help to clarify that situation. In that sense, they should be taken extremely seriously. I am grateful to have heard the experience of those who have worked on this so thoroughly in the Joint Committee on Human Rights being shared with us this afternoon.

Photo of Lord Alderdice Lord Alderdice Deputy Chairman of Committees

The noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, has withdrawn so I call the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich.

Photo of Lord Anderson of Ipswich Lord Anderson of Ipswich Crossbench

My Lords, this group of amendments focuses on compensation for crimes committed pursuant to a criminal conduct authorisation. I suggest that the applicable principles should be these.

First, it would be unfair to expose undercover operatives to personal civil liability for doing something they were expressly authorised by a public authority to do, just as it is generally considered unfair and contrary to the public interest to prosecute them for that. This, despite my profound respect for the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and for all his police experience is my problem with Amendment 6.

Secondly, some means of compensation should exist for injury or loss caused by a crime committed pursuant to a criminal conduct authorisation: not from the person who perpetrated the crime but from the authority which authorised it, or from the state more generally. So what should that means of compensation be?

The first and obvious route, already referred to by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton —but not, I think, responded to by the Minister—is via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and its equivalent in Northern Ireland. That is not expressly referred to in these amendments, but can the Minister confirm whether it is available to the victims of crime committed pursuant to criminal conduct authorisations under the scheme of the Bill and if not, why not?

The second possible route to compensation, suggested by Amendment 8, is for the CHIS who perpetrates a crime to be capable of being sued and then, if necessary, indemnified by the authorising authority. I see the attraction of that, but of course criminals are rarely perceived as having deep enough pockets to be worth suing. I can also see considerable practical difficulties in keeping their status as a CHIS secret once the indemnity comes into play. It was interesting to hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Massey of Darwen, that this amendment is based on an Australian model. It would be interesting to know how much that model is actually used.

The third possible route is by proceeding directly against the authorising authority in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. Amendment 71 is designed to give effect to that, but I wonder whether it actually adds to what is already in RIPA. A new subsection (5)(g) is proposed for its Section 65, so as to include conduct authorised under new Section 29B. But new Section 29B will be in Part II of RIPA, which is already specified in Section 65(5)(d).

How would a person be made aware of the possibility of proceedings in the IPT? The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 already requires IPCO not only to inform a person of a serious error, where it is in the public interest to do so, but, by Section 231(6), to inform them of any right they may have to apply to the IPT. By Section 232, IPCO is required to give any necessary assistance to the IPT. So far so good, although I wonder how often, as a matter of practice, it will be considered by a judicial commissioner to be in the public interest to inform a person of a serious error of this kind. To do so will often risk blowing the cover of the CHIS, notwithstanding the fact that the IPT proceedings themselves are very secure.

In short, it seems to me that the Amendment 8 route could be created, and that the Amendment 71 route may already exist, but that both are likely to be hamstrung in practice by the requirements of keeping secret the existence and identity of a CHIS. That rather points up the advantages of ensuring that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is available to the victims of crimes committed by undercover operatives in the same way as it is to the victims of other crimes. I hope the Minister will feel able to comment.

Finally and more generally, I make a procedural suggestion, following the proposal of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, that a special committee be appointed to take evidence from the police and MI5 on matters considered too sensitive, perhaps, for the ears of the rest of us. I know the Minister is thinking about that proposal, but should it not meet with favour, an alternative might be to task the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation with investigating the position and reporting back. The current reviewer, Jonathan Hall QC, is highly expert in all matters relating to police law, not only counter- terrorism. He is widely respected for his impartiality and has, of course, the very highest security clearance. I recall, as independent reviewer, performing a similar function when the Bill that became the Justice and Security Act 2013 was going through Parliament, and though I cannot commit the independent reviewer, I should be happy to share that experience if others see merit in the idea.

Photo of Baroness Chakrabarti Baroness Chakrabarti Labour

My Lords, I can be brief on this group—because I gave my views on the importance of removing both civil and criminal immunity in the earlier discussion—save to take the opportunity to wholly welcome the cogent, powerful and accessible report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and to congratulate my noble friends Lady Massey and Lord Dubs, as well as all the other members of that committee. The committee has been one of the greatest success stories coming from the Human Rights Act. Some once thought the Act would be just a recipe for litigation, and human rights would be just a box of lawyers’ tricks to wield in court, but the Joint Committee on Human Rights has been the missing ingredient that allows for human rights principles to be included in the consideration of legislation before it is even passed. I say this knowing that that the Minister will take that report incredibly seriously when he considers his approach to the next stage of the Bill.

On civil immunity, it is worth saying that, for a lot of victims, this is as important as criminal immunity. For a lot of innocent third parties, who may have lost property or even suffered grave injuries through no fault of their own, it is very important that there is the possibility of compensation. It may not be enough for it to be left to the CICA, although I will be interested in what the Minister advises. It would seem completely unconscionable for a state agent to be authorised to commit a crime, for an innocent citizen to suffer grave damage to property or person and for there to be no mechanism for them to have compensation. Further, the civil courts, when combined with investigative journalism, have been a place where a great many scandals and human rights violations of recent decades have been exposed, so “lawful for all purposes” is just as potentially worrying in the civil context as it is in relation to the criminal law.

Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Attorney General 4:45 pm, 24th November 2020

I am delighted to follow my noble friend Lady Chakrabarti, who has made a real contribution to the quality of the debate in this Committee and will make a real contribution to the changes necessary to the Bill. I shall speak particularly to Amendment 71, in the name of my noble friends Lord Rosser and Lord Kennedy. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, previewed, it seeks to make it clear that there is a jurisdiction in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal to give compensation to people.

This group concerns compensation for innocent victims. It seems to me that innocent victims can take two forms. One is somebody who is completely innocent and, pursuant to a crime authorised by a CHIS, gets beaten up, for example, by the CHIS. What remedy does that person have? Secondly and separately, there is the person who is a target of CHIS activity; for example, somebody who, it is thought, might be about to commit a crime and their premises might be burgled, pursuant to an authorisation under the Bill. What remedy does that person have? Let us assume, particularly, that the whole authorisation was wrongheaded from the start because, as everybody accepts in this process, errors get made. So, there is the innocent victim of crime on one hand and, on the other, the target of CHISery who is the wrong target and a judicial review would be allowed in relation to that.

On the face of the Bill, if it is all lawful, then there is no remedy at all. Will the Minister please explain what remedy there is? The noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, made it clear that he thinks activities under Part II of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which this is amending, already provide a remedy. Indeed, in the Commons in answer to this amendment, the Security Minister replied:

“Let me be clear: there is no barrier under the Bill for affected persons seeking a judicial review of a decision made by a public authority. Similarly, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal already has jurisdiction in relation to conduct to which part 2 of RIPA applies, which will include the amendments made by the Bill. I am, though, listening to concerns expressed by Members about the Bill’s potential impact on routes of redress, and I am happy to consider whether anything further is needed.”—[Official Report, Commons, 15/10/20; col. 613.]

It would be helpful to have, first, a repetition of the assurance that the IPT covers judicial review-type relief—on the basis, presumably, that the original authorisation is unlawful—and therefore the reference to the fact that whatever is done under the authority is lawful does not apply to the original grant of the authority.

Secondly, will the noble and learned Lord deal with the issue of the innocent victim of the crime when there is a lawfully authorised criminal conduct authorisation, and the consequence of that is that somebody is, for example, severely beaten up? What remedy does that totally innocent victim have in such circumstances? The effect of the Bill is to say that the conduct is rendered “lawful for all purposes”. It cannot mean that. It cannot mean that the totally innocent victim, who has other remedies, is deprived of all those remedies because it is authorised under a criminal conduct authorisation: it cannot have intended that.

As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, said, it may be key that we focus on the public authority which provided the authorisation and do not lose sight of the person giving the authority by focusing on the liability of the CHIS themselves. This point was clearly considered by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in suggesting its amendment to try to deal with this.

People are very concerned about the innocent victims. I strongly invite the noble and learned Lord to deal also with the practical issues referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich. For all the remedies in the world you create, if you can never tell the victim what has happened, how does that person get a remedy? That is an important point.

Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland

My Lords, Amendments 6 and 8 seek to remove the exemption from civil liability for CHIS criminal conduct. While I understand the intent behind these amendments, which is to allow those impacted by a criminal conduct authorisation to be able to seek civil redress, there are good reasons why the Bill has been drafted in this way.

I explained in response to amendments tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, why the Bill has been drafted to render correctly authorised conduct lawful for all purposes. Those reasons apply equally to criminal and civil liability. An authorisation will have been granted because it was deemed necessary and proportionate to tackle crime, terrorism or hostile state activity. Where that authorisation has been validly and lawfully granted, it is right that criminals or terrorists cannot then sue the undercover operative—the CHIS—or the state for that same activity.

I appreciate that the spirit of these amendments is to ensure that any innocent persons impacted by an authorisation can seek redress where appropriate. I reassure noble Lords that all authorisations are, in the first place, very tightly bound and, as part of the necessity and proportionality test, the authorising officer will consider any other risks of the deployment. An authorisation must consider and minimise the risk of impacting those who are not the intended subject of the operation.

The Bill does not create an exemption for all and any civil liability. For example, the conduct that is the subject of the Undercover Policing Inquiry would not be exempt from civil liability under the Bill’s regime.

I also seek to offer reassurance that routes of redress will be available to those who have been impacted by a criminal conduct authorisation where that authorisation has been unlawfully granted, following the observations from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, on the situation where the wrong stems from the authorisation granted being improper or too broad. The Bill does not prevent affected persons from seeking a judicial review of a public authority’s decision to authorise criminal conduct. If a judge concluded that the decision had not been lawfully made, the affected person could seek a remedy through the courts. The noble and learned Lord referred to the statement made in the other place on this. Equally, as with other investigatory powers, any affected person or organisation can make a complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal which will then be independently considered by the tribunal.

A further important safeguard is the obligation on the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to inform a person of a serious error that relates to them, where it is in the public interest. This includes situations where the commissioner considers that the error has caused significant prejudice or harm to the person concerned. The commissioner must also inform the person of any rights they have to apply to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. That is an example of the commissioner actively seeking out persons who have been wronged as part of their remit to consider all documentation, facts and circumstances surrounding the granting of a CCA.

Amendment 71, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, is unnecessary. Any person or organisation can already make a complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal with regard to conduct under Part II of RIPA; that complaint will be considered independently by the tribunal. The IPT operates one of the most open and transparent systems in the world for investigating allegations that agencies have breached human rights. It hears cases in open where possible and publishes detailed reports on its work and rulings. This will remain unchanged under the Bill.

These criminal conduct authorisations are very tightly bound so that they meet the necessity and proportionality test. A number of routes of redress will be available to persons wronged to challenge the validity or lawfulness of the authorisation and then seek the appropriate remedy, whether through judicial review or a complaint to the independent tribunal.

The matter of applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and others. I regret to advise the House that I do not have information specific to the CICA in front of me, but I will write to him and others who have expressed an interest on that point.

On a point raised by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, it is important to bear in mind that RIPA already excludes civil liability for authorised CHIS conduct, so what is introduced in the Bill is not new.

Photo of Lord Alderdice Lord Alderdice Deputy Chairman of Committees

I have received a request to speak after the Minister from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.

Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Attorney General

It is new, because CHIS conduct under the existing Bill significantly did not include criminal conduct. There was a little bit that was included, but this is a wholly different regime and I do not think it is right to say there is no change there. However, I did not rise to say that; I wanted to raise the point about being lawful for all purposes. If it is lawful for all purposes, tortious claims cannot be brought by the totally innocent victim—the person beaten up pursuant to the authority, assuming the person beaten up is not the subject of the CHIS but is just somebody caught up in it. Putting aside the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which the noble and learned Lord will come back to us on, why should that person—singularly, throughout the whole of English civil law—not have a remedy? Is he saying that person does not have a remedy? If he is saying that they do, what is that remedy? Everyone else beaten up in the course of a crime has a tortious remedy.

Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland

The remedy lies in the approach to the tribunal and the obligation on the commissioner to notify a person who is wronged of their right.

Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Attorney General

Can the Minister confirm that the totally innocent victim can go to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and make a claim for damages for assault and battery?

Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. In speaking to the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, I do not want to get into an argument over who has more respect for whom, but I have the utmost respect for him and his experience as a former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. There is a fundamental disagreement he has surfaced with the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, and me over what was described in a previous group as the tension in the fact that a CHIS committing a crime is potentially subject to criminal prosecution and being sued for civil damages. I note that the noble Lord does not believe that is right, whereas the noble Baroness and I think it is.

On the question of how a CHIS can be sued without their identity being revealed, I go back to my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford’s example. Say one member of an armed gang is working with the police. All of them are involved in an armed robbery but when they get to court, under this Bill, the one who has been given immunity from prosecution is not there. How do you preserve that CHIS anonymity in those circumstances? I raise this not to make a clever point but because, as we will see in going through all the groups of amendments in Committee, granting anonymity in advance creates all sorts of problems to which there is seemingly no answer.

The Minister said that the criminal conduct authorisation would be granted only for a good reason, that it would be necessary and proportionate and that, in those circumstances, somebody should not be allowed to sue the CHIS. The police are not infallible, as we will discuss in our upcoming debates. The authorisation may not be necessary and proportionate, or the CHIS may go beyond what they are authorised to do. The Minister also talked about authorisations being tightly bound and said that the authorising officer will consider all the risks. As we will discuss later, it is not possible to legislate for every possible risk in the scenarios in which many CHIS are operating.

The Minister keeps making assertions with no evidence to support them. He asserted that the inappropriate conduct being surfaced by the undercover police inquiry would not be exempt from civil litigation but, again, he gave no explanation why. At this stage, I will withdraw my amendment but I am sure that we will return to this issue on Report.

Amendment 6 withdrawn.

Photo of Baroness Morris of Bolton Baroness Morris of Bolton Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 5:00 pm, 24th November 2020

My Lords, we now come to the group beginning with Amendment 7. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this or anything else in this group to a Division should make that clear in debate.