Items subject to legal privilege

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 499, in clause 100, page 77, line 3, after “items”, insert “presumptively”.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 500, in clause 100, page 77, line 8, after “items”, insert “presumptively”.

Amendment 501, in clause 100, page 77, line 13, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—

“(a) that compelling evidence indicates that the items in question consist of, or relate to, communications made for a criminal purpose such that it is necessary to authorise or require interference with equipment for the purpose of obtaining or (in the case of a targeted examination warrant) the selection for examination of those items, and”.

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

We again return to familiar territory. The amendment would provide an additional safeguard in relation to items subject to legal privilege. The structure of clause 100 is precisely the same as the structure of similar clauses addressing legal privilege that we have debated at some length. As I indicated last time we spoke on this subject, amendments 499 to 501 are those that the Bar Council suggests are appropriate to align the safeguard with its understanding of legal professional privilege. We have gone over this ground already. The clause and amendments have the same structure as earlier ones, and I do not think I will assist by repeating what I have said. I stand by the remarks that I made earlier.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General 12:45, 21 April 2016

Again, I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman. He is right to say that this is a repeat of arguments we had on another part of the Bill. As he has laid out his arguments by adopting his previous submissions, I do likewise on behalf of the Government. Recalling those briefly, my concerns about the dangers of over-definition remain. However, I do not want material that should not be caught by the Bill to be caught by it in any inadvertent way. We are talking about cases where the purpose of a targeted equipment interference or examination warrant is to acquire or examine items that are subject to legal professional privilege. We have additional protections that are a sufficient safeguard and strike that essential balance. For all the reasons I advanced previously, I urge the hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw the amendment at this stage.

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

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 100 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 101