Lawfulness of conduct authorised by this Part

Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 19 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs) 2:00, 19 Ebrill 2016

I beg to move amendment 246, in clause 72, page 57, line 35, leave out from “subsection (1)” to end of line 40.

This amendment ensures that if conduct cannot be justified it must remain unlawful.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Ceidwadwyr, Mid Bedfordshire

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 148, in clause 72, page 57, line 36, leave out paragraph (b).

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs)

I think I can take this in fairly short compass. The clause deals with the lawfulness of conduct authorised by this part of the Bill. The amendment would delete clause 72(2)(b), the effect of which would be that conduct would have to remain unlawful if it could not be justified. As it is currently worded, the clause allows an exception to that principle, and that is not an appropriate exception. Conduct is either lawful or unlawful. If it is unlawful, it should be characterised as such and should not be justified. Strictly, if the amendment were to be passed, subsection (3) would have to be left out as well, for tidying-up purposes.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

May I reassure the hon. and learned Lady that the provisions relating to lawfulness of conduct authorised by part 3 of the Bill replicate those that currently apply in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and the Bill goes no further in providing indemnity from civil liability for conduct incidental to or reasonably undertaken in connection with a communications data authorisation? The clause is drafted to ensure that a person who engages in conduct only in connection with an authorisation cannot be subject to civil liability unless that activity could itself have been authorised separately under a relevant power. It must follow that the removal of that provision would mean that a person who was acting lawfully under an authorisation that had properly been granted under the Bill would be at risk of civil liability if some incidental or reasonably connected conduct were not expressly covered by the authorisation.

I can see the thrust of the hon. and learned Lady’s argument, but I hope that I have reassured her that the Bill does not go any further than the status quo. For that reason, I urge her to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 72 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 73 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 74