10. Letter from the Chairman to Messrs
Bircham Dyson Bell, Agents acting for Nottingham City Council
The Committee is considering the above Bill. It has
carried out an initial examination of it, and has formed the provisional
opinion that, save in relation to the matter mentioned below,
the Bill is compatible with relevant human rights obligations.
The Committee would, however, be grateful for your comments on
the following point raised by its Legal Adviser.
Powers of entry and inspection under clause 14 would
engage the right to respect for private life and the home under
ECHR Article 8.1, which is capable of extending to business premises.
The Committee accepts that safeguards in clause 14 should ensure
that the entry and search powers necessary in a democratic society
for a legitimate purpose under Article 8.2, subject to one caveat.
The Committee's reservation relates to confidential
papers which are not subject to legal privilege, and to items
subject to legal privilege in the hands of a person other than
a solicitor. The Bill would not appear to import the protections
for those classes of materials contained in the Police and Criminal
Evidence Act 1984 (hereafter 'PACE'), section 9 and Schedule 1.
Those protections were drafted in order to ensure adequate protection
for the right to respect for private life and correspondence under
ECHR Article 8, and for the right to a fair trial (to which lawyer-client
privilege is essential) under ECHR Article 6.
It is the Committee's provisional view that the provisions
of section 9 of, and Schedule 1 to, PACE should be imported into
the Bill, to ensure compliance with ECHR Article 8. The Committee
will shortly report this opinion to each House, and would be grateful
for your views, which can be reported to the House in due course.
I am copying this letter to the Examiner of Private
21 January 2003
61 Niemietz v. Germany, Eur. Ct. H.R., judgment
of 16 December 1992, Series A, No. 251-B, 16 EHRR 97 Back