General definitions

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 7:00 pm on 3 May 2016.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General 7:00, 3 May 2016

That is a good point, but there is a danger that we overcomplicate the situation and end up restricting what is commonly understood as the important legal professional privilege that exists between lawyer and client. Instead of overcomplicating it, it would be far better to keep maters straight and reflect the position provided for in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which applies here in England and Wales, the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 and the definitions relating to Scotland. The other statutes for England, Wales and Northern Ireland do not define “professional legal adviser” and I do not see a compelling need to do so here. As I have explained, the Bill goes a long way towards protecting that important legal privilege and serving the interests that that privilege is all about. It is not about the lawyers but the client. Fundamentally, it is that communication that merits special protection.