Letter from Lord Tordoff to Kate Hoey
Thank you for your letter of 15 June regarding
the interception provisions of the draft Mutual Assistance Convention.
Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) considered your reply and
a new version of the Convention, JUSTPEN 39, at its meeting on
The Committee notes that the Justice and Home
Affairs Council on 27-28 May made no progress in resolving the
key question concerning the scope of application of the interception
provisions. Nor did the Council agree on the role, if any, of
the Member State hosting a satellite ground station in "remote"
interceptions by a national service provider in the intercepting
State. It would seem that there was no discussion of a number
of other outstanding issues, notably the need for data protection
provisions, the application of the Convention to Gibraltar, the
implications of the incorporation of the Schengen acquis
within the EU, and the composition and operation of joint investigation
The Committee has decided to clear an earlier
draft of the Convention, JUSTPEN 33, but intends to hold the latest
version, JUSTPEN 39, under scrutiny. The Committee maintains a
particular interest in the following unresolved matters:
the general question as to the scope
of application of the interception provisions (Articles 2a and
joint investigation teams (Article
the opt-out clause in Article 9(9)
on hearings of an accused by video link.
You will recall that the Committee decided to
hold under scrutiny JUSTPEN 21 on the lifting of reservations
to the 1959 Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Assistance
pending clarification of the Presidency's reasons for omitting
this from the draft Convention.
I am copying this letter to the Chairman and
Clerk of the European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons.
1 July 1999