Failure to approve warrant issued in urgent case

Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 21 April 2016.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 12:30, 21 April 2016

I beg to move amendment 441, in clause 99, page 76, line 10, leave out paragraph (b).

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 442, in clause 99, page 76, line 12, leave out subsection (4) and insert—

‘(4A) Where the judicial commissioner refuses to approve an urgent warrant, they must direct that all of the material obtained under the warrant is destroyed, unless there are exceptional circumstances.”.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office)

The amendment is minor, in keeping with the amendments that we have already debated on material obtained under warrants that are later cancelled or not authorised. The amendment would tighten the requirements in cases where a judicial commissioner refuses to approve a warrant; the reason for that is self-evident. We have rehearsed this territory to some extent.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

I resist the amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman is right that we have considered similar amendments in relation to clause 23 in part 2 of the Bill. With respect, it is not right to fetter the discretion of the judicial commissioners, who are experienced and senior members of the judiciary. They should be allowed to decide such matters on a case-by-case basis. The amendment prompts the questions of what might be meant by “exceptional circumstances” and of who would determine whether the threshold had been met in a given instance. I worry that that would just complicate the process. We are all agreed that commissioners will give each case proper consideration, and the commissioners will seek to serve the clear public interest in ensuring that material that should not be retained is destroyed. Well intentioned though this amendment is, it would add undue complication, and we oppose it for that reason.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office)

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 99 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 100