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Page 30, line 31, at end insert ("in writing").

The noble Viscount said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 95. The two amendments make specific the requirement to notify a detainee in writing and at the same time give the reasons for detaining that person. That applies to the detainee or his adviser. I beg to move.

Lord Hylton: We have been over this ground many times on previous Bills. So far as I know, we have never yet managed to get the reasons firmly in writing for everyone. It is high time that that was done.

The Earl of Sandwich: I shall begin in a rather more benign way than my noble friend by saying that the noble Lord, Lord Williams, carried away a number of garlands just before he unfortunately had to leave. I am able to give only a small bouquet to his successor.

As the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, said, written reasons have been talked about for years, not months. The amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Cope, which was moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, simply follows paragraph 12.7 of the White Paper, which refers only to a checklist. I support that provision as a minimal arrangement, but it is not a great advance. Why can we not have full written reasons which are particular to the individual detainee? Is it not a human right for someone detained to have a piece of paper stating clearly why he or she has been held? It is something to show other people. It is part of a person's identity. If full written reasons are to be available anyway for a routine bail hearing within seven days--that is a splendid advance--why not combine those two reasons in one?

On the related subject of the disclosure of bail summaries, I have seen the letter dated 17th May from Colin Harbin of the immigration service to the organisation, Bail for Immigration Detainees. It refers to the,

The letter also refers to the reasons for the immigration service's intention to oppose bail, which will already be well known. That is not good enough. I hope that the Minister can give an indication of some further advance.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: I wish to speak to Amendment No. 96 which is grouped with Amendments Nos. 94 and 95 which I support. Amendment No. 94 calls for reasons to be given in writing and I wish to expand on that in relation to Amendment No. 96. I apologise for the fact that, perhaps because it is rather hard to hear from these Benches, we missed the reference to Amendment No. 196 in regard to bail to which I wished to speak at an earlier stage.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: If the noble Baroness will permit me to intervene, Amendment No. 83 could not be called because we had already knocked the lines involved out of the Bill by agreeing to Amendment

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No. 80B. Amendments Nos. 196 and 197 will fall to be debated, I believe, when we reach that point in the Bill another day.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: I am deeply reassured and thank the noble Lord. I shall therefore limit my remarks to Amendment No. 96. I wish to draw attention to the specific position with regard to victims of torture. In another place the Minister of State said that the Home Office was very much aware of the special claims of victims of torture. I shall say a word about why some of us keep reiterating the case.

It is simple. A victim of torture who carries evidence of that torture either on his person or in his brain is likely to be a legitimate asylum seeker. He is likely prima facie to be a strong case for sympathetic consideration. Therefore, we are anxious about the case where someone who has been tortured or is alleged to have been tortured and who has been detained brings a case to the courts, subject to judicial detention. The fact that he has a history of torture and that an explanation is provided which indicates that he has been a victim of torture gives a strong claim, we think, to special treatment and, in particular, to a statement of reasons in writing. They must take into account the reason someone who has such a history should be detained. It is very much in line with what has been promised in another place: special consideration for people who have suffered as a result of torture of the serious effects of detention on any such persons.

I recognise that the Minister may not like the wording. It is almost invariably a good reason for rejecting an amendment. But the meaning and thought behind the amendment should be on the face of the Bill so that victims of torture can expect special consideration because of what they have already suffered.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Amendment No. 94 would require the Secretary of State to notify in writing a detainee and, where known, his representative that a reference to a court had been made. I wish to reassure the Committee that this has always been our intention. I hope that that is sufficient to enable the noble Lord to agree that the amendment is unnecessary and may be withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 95 and 96 deal with bail. I welcome the sentiment expressed in those amendments about providing written reasons for detention. As they stand, the amendments do not go far enough, as they would apply only to those who are about to have their routine bail hearing. It would exclude those who are detained for a short period or are court recommended deportees. Both should know the reasons for their detention.

As already mentioned in the debate, the Government have decided that all detainees should receive written reasons for detention at the time they are detained. This is to be done by means of a check list identifying the Immigration Act power under which the person is detained and the reason for detention. Once the statutory

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presumption of bail is in force, the check list will identify which exceptions apply to each individual case. If none applies, a person will not be detained.

It is intended that written reasons for detention will be introduced before these provisions of the Bill come into force. Therefore, the noble Lord's amendment is unnecessary. The thought underlying it is that the detainee should be entitled to tailor-made reasons in writing as to why he is being detained. As the noble Lord knows, the way in which the law will operate once the statutory presumption is in force is that you are entitled to bail unless it is shown that you fall within one of the exceptions. It seems to me appropriate that what should be done to notify the detainee in writing is precisely which of the exceptions has led to the statutory presumption not applying in his case. I am sure that as a matter of practicality that is the best way to ensure that people are told the reasons for the detention in writing.

The noble Baroness's amendment raises a similar point but is more focused in the sense that it seeks to raise a special point. If someone has been the victim of torture or there is evidence that he or she has been the victim of torture, the noble Baroness argues that there is a special reason that written reasons be given and that they deal with the point if liberty is to be taken away from the individual.

I wish to broaden the matter and state how we intend to deal with torture victims and the giving of bail. Magistrates who will be dealing with bail will not at this time normally have much experience of doing so for immigrants as opposed to bail for defendants. The Government have made clear that training will be given to magistrates who will be conducting routine bail hearings under Part III and applications for bail under existing immigration legislation. The issues relating to the detention of vulnerable groups, including torture victims, will be covered as part of that training. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees will be invited to contribute to the training package.

It is important to emphasise that asylum seekers are never detained because they have claimed asylum. We detain certain immigration offenders, illegal entrants, overstayers, workers in breach, those refused entry and persons subject to deportation action. That is the basis on which the issue of bail will arise. Many people who fall within those categories are asylum seekers or claim asylum once enforcement action commences. Each decision to detain is made on an individual basis. We have no wish to detain anyone but we need to ensure that people will comply with the restrictions and will leave the country if unsuccessful in their claim.

The UNHCR guidelines on detention are helpful but do not address the wider issue of action to be taken against persons who do not comply with the laws of the host country or who refuse to leave when their claim has been rejected. I hope that the noble Earl and the noble Baroness will accept that we are fully appreciative of our obligations and that we will involve UNHCR in judicial training. I hope that the noble Baroness accepts also that from time to time the effect of torture could

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override an exception to the presumption against bail. I cannot say that it will override the exception in every case because that would depend on the circumstances.

Even having regard to the background to which the noble Baroness referred, it will be necessary for the magistrates to decide that one of the statutory exceptions to bail exists. They must and will be trained to take into account the history. In many cases that will be contested, so it will be necessary for magistrates to be given some training as well in relation to the evidence upon which they can rely. Taking all those matters into account, and having regard to the training they have received, magistrates must decide whether or not there is an exception to the statutory presumption. I hope that that puts at rest some of the noble Baroness's concerns about the proper weight to be attached to the issue in the context of considering bail or custody in such circumstances.

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