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Lord Goodhart: My Lords, I must confess that I have some difficulty in seeing how a right not to be a witness can be a right of a witness. Having said that, the amendment is clearly very minor and I do not propose to take it any further. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 4 [Service of process otherwise than by post]:

[Amendments Nos. 10 and 11 not moved.]

Clause 5 [General requirements for effecting Scottish citation etc.]:

Baroness Carnegy of Lour moved Amendment No. 12:

The noble Baroness said: In moving the amendment, I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 15, 16 and 19, tabled in my name and that of my noble friend. Also in the group are government Amendments Nos. 13, 14, 17 and 18. No doubt the Minister will speak in a moment to his amendments, but it is my duty to speak first because of the way in which the group is arranged.

Before I speak to the amendment, I have one general comment. The amendments concern some of many changes that the Bill is making to the law of Scotland. It is interesting that that is happening despite the fact that many issues with which we are dealing are devolved to Scotland. The Scottish Parliament wished the Westminster Parliament to deal with them, and one understands why. It is very important that the arrangements in the Bill are the same in Scotland as they are in the rest of the United Kingdom, and that is easier to do in this way.

It has been pointed out to me, however, that there is another reason why that is desirable. When the Scottish Parliament legislates in relation to human rights, should any legislation that it has passed prove incompatible with the convention on human rights and the Human Rights Act, a whole Bill may be challenged in court and struck down completely, even if it has had Royal Assent. Should a Bill of the Westminster Parliament be proved to contravene human rights in court, the Government have the ability to put the Bill right by a fast-track process, if I remember, and the Bill stands. Therefore, it is convenient for Scotland that Westminster should legislate sometimes in such a way. I do not know whether the Scottish Parliament considered that matter when it made the decision to ask Westminster to do the job for it, but it is an interesting point that noble Lords might care to remember for future occasions.

I shall return to the amendment. In a way, the issue is a bad-news story followed by a very good-news story for the law of Scotland. In Grand Committee on 13th January, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, moved an

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amendment to insert a new paragraph into Clause 5. That can be found at col. GC 30 of Hansard. The paragraph related to the arrangements for effecting a citation in Scotland. He said that he had tabled it at the request of the Scottish Executive.

The paragraph seemed to me, as a layman, somewhat incomprehensible. My noble friend Lady Anelay agreed. The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, was sympathetic and suggested an improvement. The Minister was advised that there might be a misprint. He said that he would speak to the amendment and insert it into the Bill, but would reflect on the clarity in the meantime and make an improvement, should one be possible. When the paragraph appeared in Hansard, the matter had been clarified as it was more clearly laid out.

My noble friend and I looked at the Bill as it stood and thought that it still required clarification, which is why we tabled Amendments Nos. 12, 15, 16 and 19. To our delight government Amendments Nos. 13, 14, 17 and 18 appeared, and they seem to do the job even better than we have. I am certainly of a mind to withdraw my amendment in due course and accept the government ones, because we think that they are better. I beg to move.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I support what has been said by my noble friend Lady Carnegy. The original amendment was perhaps a cautionary tale of how one may work in Grand Committee, where we are of course not allowed to vote and any amendments must be made with the agreement of the whole Committee. It made me think carefully about when I might try to persuade Ministers in future not to proceed when there is some discontent about government amendments.

Like my noble friend I completely welcome the government amendments, which I see as superior to my own. My noble friend Lady Carnegy referred to the fact that when the government amendment was printed in the Bill as a reprint after consideration in Grand Committee, the format was different from that presented to us in Committee because sub-paragraphs had been added. I have no complaint about that; I simply did not know that one could print in the new version of a Bill an amendment laid out differently from the way it appeared in the amendment agreed in Committee. As my noble friend said, it lent greater clarity but it still left some gobbledegook. It has now been rescued from that state by the Minister. I shall inquire in the Public Bill Office about how formats may be changed between the presentation agreed to by Committee and that printed in the Bill.

Lord Filkin: My Lords, I shall not speak at length because the House appears to be at one on this matter, although we tend to prefer the phrase, "less than transparent", to "gobbledegook", for reasons that noble Lords will understand. The noble Baronesses, Lady Anelay and Lady Carnegy, remarked that the paragraphing changes, which were undertaken in preparation for the Bill's next stage, offered greater clarity. Like the noble Baroness, I did not know that that

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approach was part of our process. It appears to be a helpful part. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, I had not known of the point about the ECHR; I shall take it away and reflect on it. Without more ado, I shall move the government amendments at the appropriate point.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, I thank my noble friend and the Minister for their comments. My noble friend amplified the point that I was trying to make about this interesting procedure, which appears in Hansard. We will need to watch it in future and ensure that if there is a rearrangement of paragraphs, the wording is the same, which it was in this instance. There was nothing wrong with the wording, as the noble Lord said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 13:

    Page 4, line 1, at beginning insert "the citation".

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker: My Lords, before I call Amendment No. 14, I have to tell noble Lords that if that amendment is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 15 for reasons of pre-emption.

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 14:

    Page 4, line 1, after "document" insert "issued is"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 not moved.]

Lord Filkin moved Amendments Nos. 17 and 18:

    Page 4, line 10, at beginning insert "the citation"

    Page 4, line 10, after "document" insert "issued is"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 19 not moved.]

4.45 p.m.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 20:

    After Clause 9, insert the following new clause—

The Secretary of State shall lay annually before Parliament a report on the use of freezing orders."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this new clause would require the Secretary of State to make a report on an annual basis on the use of freezing orders. The amendment is slightly different from that which I moved in Grand Committee when I sought an arrangement under which the Secretary of State would appoint an independent person to make an annual report. The Minister sought to persuade me that having an independent person would involve an unnecessarily cumbersome procedure. After listening to the debate and the reasons proposed, I agreed with him. However, I believe that we should take stock of the fact that the Government are introducing a new provision into United Kingdom law, the use of which should be considered in light of operational experience as well as that of developments throughout the

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European Union once the Bill is enacted. I still believe therefore that there is room for an annual report in these matters.

At Second Reading, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, said:

    "The Bill will also introduce mutual recognition of orders to freeze evidence, as provided for by the EU's draft framework decision on the execution of orders freezing evidence. That is a major step forward that will significantly speed up the process of securing valuable evidence. Mutual recognition takes MLA one step further by recognising directly, as between EU member states, a request made by a court, so enabling a direct response with the minimum of formality".—[Official Report, 2/12/02; col. 973.]

That seems a very constructive step forward. So far, the Government cannot say how often they anticipate that these orders will be used because we are moving into uncharted territory.

We have discussed the provisions on freezing orders, which are new and potentially an important element of the Bill. It is important that when new provisions are introduced into our domestic law, particularly those depending on the actions of authorities in other countries, they are kept under scrutiny in order to ensure that they are operating for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its citizens.

In Grand Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, advanced the view that if other countries did not have an annual report on these matters, perhaps we should not; he asked the Minister various questions about that. Very rarely do I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, but on this occasion I dare to do so because it is not always the case that if the EU does something differently from us, it is right and we are wrong. At this stage, we are going into uncharted territory and we do not yet have a full view of how other countries will approach the matter. They may end up with an annual report; we simply do not know.

It is important for us to know how this new system will operate and whether it is unduly burdensome. As the Minister said at col. GC 50, the framework decision has not yet been adopted across the EU. We are having to take much on trust. The Minister said that the parliamentary procedure of tabling Written Questions would suffice. Well, that may perhaps be the case in some circumstances but written Questions are a very blunt tool and are normally used only as a method of garnering information preparatory to a debate; they are not really the best way to hold the Government to account. I recognise that they are also used by governments to make announcements that they may not be able to make in other ways. I do not want to leave this important matter to the risk of a Written Question.

I am asking the Government through the amendment whether they have now discovered the answers to the questions raised in Committee. For example, the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, asked: will the information be contained in the annually published judicial statistics in terms of orders made and breakdowns of the other countries concerned? The Minister said that he could not

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answer the question at that time but that he would make inquiries and let us know. This is his chance. I beg to move.

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