Clause 45 - Appeals

National Security Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:45 am ar 8 Medi 2022.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

The clause set out the rights of appeal of a person subject to an STPIM notice and the function of the court on considering such an appeal. Those rights of appeal are in addition to the automatic review of each case and ensure that the individual subject to a notice is able to appeal against all relevant decisions taken by the Secretary of State using the powers contained in the Bill—for example, to extend or revive a notice, to vary the measures or to refuse an application for measures to be varied.

In determining an appeal brought under the clause, the court must apply judicial review principles. That is a particularly intense level of scrutiny and will ensure that the Secretary of State’s decisions are subject to independent consideration. Clause 45 makes clear the powers of the court on considering an appeal, which include to quash the extension or revival of the notice or the measures within, or to give directions to the Secretary of State for the revocation of the notice or in relation to the variation of the measures specified in the notice. As I have said already, a key feature of the Bill is the extensive and multi-layered approach to judicial oversight, which will ensure that the courts can be involved at every stage of the process, and that every decision of the Secretary of State can be reviewed by the judiciary and can be overturned if the court so decides.

To recap, there is an initial permission stage before measures are imposed. There is then the automatic full review of the decision to impose measures, and there are the extensive rights of appeal contained in the clause. Taken together, those provide important safeguards.

Photo of Holly Lynch Holly Lynch Shadow Minister (Home Office)

I am grateful to the Minister for that explanation. It is absolutely right that clause 45 sets out those rights to appeal. I have nothing further to add at this stage, but we will come back to oversight when we discuss later amendments and new clauses.

Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution)

Clause 45 includes the important power to appeal to the court against the decision to review or revive a part 2 notice; against variations, or the refusal of them; against unlimited revocation applications; and in relation to permission applications. As the Minister said, the function is to review the decision, and the court must apply the principles applicable on an application for judicial review.

That sounds fine—so far, so good—but why is there no right to appeal against a clause 35 permission to impose STPIM decisions, as made clear in clause 47? Is it because it is expected that other procedures will have the same effect, for example an application to revoke, or is this an attempt to limit in statute the ability of those subject to STPIMs having access to court to appeal in those circumstances?

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Llafur, North Durham

I warmly welcome the Minister to his position. He and I go back a long way: when I was a Minister in the Ministry of Defence, he was a bright, fresh young officer, and I think we both have fond memories of our time working together. One of the dangers he faces is being appointed to a position that he knows a lot about. That is always a downer for any Minister and strikes fear into the civil service. I wish him well, and he will do a good job.

Throughout the entire Bill, there should be an ability for the individual to have recourse to appeal. That is not because I am somehow soft on terrorism or on the individuals we are dealing with. It is because we must have a system whereby, when the state takes hard measures to limit someone’s freedom, they need the counterbalance of the ability to appeal. That is why I welcome the measures. My problem with the Bill is that, although this measure is present in this part of the Bill, there are no safeguards in other parts of the Bill. Those types of appeal mechanisms balance state power and the individual.

I have two specific points on the process, which I support. How will the appeals be done in the court? Some of the information that the Secretary of State will rely on will be highly classified, so how will the process work? It will mean the disclosure of some information that we would not want disclosed in open court. I shall not rehearse the arguments on part 3, but it is clear that, if part 3 is retained, the individual will not have recourse to legal aid for an appeal. I am opposed to that. That is not because I am on the side of individuals who wish us harm, but we must ensure that we have a system that is robust in ensuring that justice is done, and people must not be arbitrarily detained or subject to those restrictions if they clearly have legitimate arguments against what the state is trying to apply.

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Before I come to the right hon. Member for Dundee East’s words, I will just address the very generous tribute from the right hon. Member for North Durham. I remember that I used to call him sir; he never called me sir, and he still will not. I do not feel special in that; I do not think he has ever called anyone sir in his life. It was very kind of him.

On the question raised by the right hon. Member for Dundee East, clause 38 means that there has to be a review wherever a STPIM notice is imposed, which is in clause 35. The individual can attend the automatic review. I will come on to that element, because as the right hon. Member for North Durham rightly says, there is likely to be material that is extremely sensitive. That is why the procedure relates to what is already established with special advocates. The right hon. Member knows much more about Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearings, and the various ways in which advocates can have access to information that is relevant to a court but is not then shared with somebody for whom that would not be conducive. That is the way that the proceedings will work, and I think that provides the right balance between disclosure, justice and protection.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 45 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.