Surveillance laws under scrutiny

6 June 2016

MPs debate the Investigatory Powers Bill in the Commons today, including measures to authorise the surveillance of legally privileged conversations between clients and their lawyers.

Chairman of the Bar Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said: "Amendments tabled for today's report stage of the Investigatory Powers Bill show that politicians are taking seriously the right of the client to communicate with their lawyer in private, without the threat of state surveillance.

"The recent Joint Committee on Human Rights report rightly points out that the Bill has insufficient safeguards to protect this right, and we welcome the committee's efforts to address this issue.

"The Bar Council particularly welcomes the Joint Committee's recognition that communications in furtherance of a criminal purpose are not covered by privilege, so that there is no need for the Bill to grant powers to target privileged communications.

"Legal privilege is a fundamental and constitutional right of UK citizens. Placing statutory protection for legal privilege in the Investigatory Powers Bill is an intricate, complex task, and the Bar Council looks forward to working with parliamentarians on all sides of both houses to make sure that we get this right."

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

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  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board