Section 17 — Functions of Chief Surveillance Commissioner

Part of Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:45 am on 7th September 2000.

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Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party 10:45 am, 7th September 2000

I will speak to amendment 62. I understand what the minister said about these being technical amendments. However, I see that the amendment would introduce a change to the terminology in relation to how the chief surveillance commissioner will give information to the tribunal. As it stands, section 17 states that the chief surveillance commissioner shall give information to the tribunal

"as the Tribunal may require."

The amended section would state that the chief surveillance commissioner shall provide such information as "is appropriate".

I could envisage a situation in which one chief surveillance commissioner thought that certain information was appropriate to pass to the tribunal and another thought that it was not. I am concerned about whether guidance will be issued to chief surveillance commissioners or whether guidance on what should be considered appropriate will be included in the codes of practice, so that there is consistency in what chief surveillance commissioners think is appropriate for the tribunal process. Does the minister think that the amendment could impede the role of the tribunal if there is no guidance in the codes of practice or elsewhere?