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I do not know whether I am alone in having difficulty in correlating Clause 1(5) with Clause 3 and Schedule 1. The noble Baroness stated earlier that the purpose of subsection (5) is to give a definition within which any information recorded in Schedule 1 is to come. In effect, it circumscribes the boundary of information for the purposes of Clause 3 and Schedule 1. I recommend some cross-reference in the Billat present there is nonebetween Clauses 1 and 3 and Clause 1 and Schedule 1. For the normal purpose of anyone reading the Billthat includes a lawyerthe provision should state, "information which may be recorded in the Register" followed by a reference not only to Clause 3 but also to Clause 1(5).
I am considerably assuaged by the thought that Clause 1(5) circumscribes for all purposes and at all times, subject to primary legislation, what can be placed in the register under Schedule 1. I referred earlier to one fact which seemed to go against that supposition in relation to principal residence. I still think that I am right. No doubt the noble Baroness will be kind enough to consider that issue.
There are issues the other way. I note, for example, that paragraph 5 to Schedule 1 refers to "his date of death". An identity card for a dead man is a somewhat novel concept. None the less, I am sure the parliamentary draftsman has some obscure purpose in mind.
Subject to those matters, for the next stage of the Bill, I shall return with some cross-reference amendments which will make life easier for those who have to construe this document. I have one question: I do not expect the noble Baroness to answer it now. I do not understand who decides under Clause 3 what registrable facts are to go on each individual's registry entry. Clause 3(1) states:
Lord Crickhowell: I shall refrain from making comments which I could have done on the
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amendment. I prefer to make them when we debate Amendment No. 24 and later amendments, which I understand will be after the break. I note at this point the remarkable fact that an individual may have 12 different numbers recorded on the register as a result of the legislation we are passing. I admit that that is an exceptional circumstance and will involve people entering the country and others who make application. Many people will have a large number of identifiable reference numbers entered in the register. I believe that that says a little about the nature of the Bill we are passing.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I thank the noble Lord for thinking again about the amendment. I understand what he says about the connection not having been made in relation to Clause 1(5) and Schedule 1, and that he wants to think about that and return to the issue. I shall also be happy to write to him about why we believe that Schedule 1 is at present consistent with Clause 1(5). I have indicated already the broad parameter but I am conscious of how long these matters seem to have taken in debate. It will be convenient if we take soon a short adjournment.
It will be the Secretary of State who decides what information is to be put in each entry. Not all the information would be relevant for each individual. For example, immigration documents or drivers' numbers are not necessary for or relevant to everyone. We think that it plays a useful role to have that framework for Clause 1(5) because it indicates the outer limits and means that it constrains other issues which could possibly come in by way of order and affirmation or negative resolution. The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee has approved the affirmative procedure for adding and the negative procedure if we wish to remove something from the schedule, as appears appropriate.
Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I thank the noble Baroness for that response. The only issue that arisesI may have mentioned it earlieris the confusion over adding matters to the schedule. There does not seem space. The schedule already carries all the information that it could carry within the parameters of Clause 1(5). One of the issues about which the noble Baroness may be kind enough to write to me is where the Government see room for any additional information given that the whole of Clause 1(5) already seems to be in the schedule.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We understand that this whole area may develop quite quickly and that the way in which we store biometric data and transfer information may change dramatically in the next five or 10 years. For example, looking back to where we were before the age of the fax machine and the computerwhich was not very long agoI can remember having an interesting debate in my
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chambers about whether we should acquire a fax machine because no one else had one. After a lengthy debate lasting a number of hours, we finally said that we should have the courage to invest in this piece of equipment, which may or may not prove to be useful.
So bearing that in mind, and knowing how quickly technology has developed over the past 10 years, it is likely that we may wish to include in the schedule other modes of communication which have not as yet been invented. That is an example of why we need to have latitude and why it is important, even with those increments, that we should have Clause 1(5) to constrain the use to which we put new technological and other developments.
Lord Phillips of Sudbury: That is extremely helpful. I take for granted the need for technical additions. I was referring to Clause 3(1)(a), which relates to what I call the real information about individuals. I invite the Minister, if she would be so kind, to let me know what room there is for further information to be put in the schedule, given that it seems to take up the whole of Clause 1(5) already.
Is that wise? Would not the word "presumption" be perfectly adequate? If for any reasonand I cannot immediately imagine onethere was an issue in court where the accuracy of a fact that had been recorded was shown to be nonsense, would it mean that the court was bound by something which was completely inaccurate and consequently might find it very difficult to do justice? The wording seems to be unnecessarily strong and the word "presumption" would probably be sufficient.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I understand why the noble and learned Lord has raised this point. The reason for inserting the word "conclusive" is that we anticipateand we have framed the legislation to reflect thisthat great care will be given to the registering of any fact. The integrity of the system will depend on its accuracy and its ability to identify each individual placed on it. Having done that, the import will be to ensure that it has a "conclusive presumption" for the purposes of the Act. I shall certainly consider this issue to ensure that that is the most felicitous way of expressing it. But I know, as does the noble and learned Lord, that a presumption is ultimately still only a presumption. I shall come back on the issue, but the reason it is drafted in that way is because of the robustness and soundness that we hope the register will have.
I have further assistance which states that, for the purposes of the Act, the Secretary of State can withdraw the conclusive presumption if it proves to be
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wrong. But the purpose of the revision is to protect people with new identitiesfor example, those in the witness protection programme.
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