New clause 1 - Interviews with children

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:00 pm ar 17 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 4:00, 17 Ionawr 2002

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

I am pleased that we have a little time left in which to discuss the Opposition new clauses. New clause 1 is a probing new clause, tabled by my hon. Friend the ubiquitous hon. Member for Isle of Wight. The new clause seems to be sensible. It would allow evidence from children to be relied on only if it were supported by a video or audio recording of their interviews. He tells me that there is concern that children's statements may be used to influence the court, even if the way in which they were obtained would be out of order for the purposes of a criminal prosecution, and he can cite some examples of that from cases in his constituency. Having made inquires at the House of Commons Library, he also told me that it is unlawful to disclose any reports or other evidence to any third parties without the leave of the court, even after proceedings are concluded. He is concerned that that is perhaps unreasonable because, on that basis, parents who have a grievance cannot even disclose the relevant information to local councillors who are responsible for social services departments or to a Member of Parliament.