Debates between Lord Faulks and Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 21st Feb 2022
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage & Committee stage
Tue 9th Feb 2021
Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords

Judicial Review and Courts Bill

Debate between Lord Faulks and Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd
Baroness Chakrabarti Portrait Baroness Chakrabarti (Lab)
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My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, on his Amendment 13. He rightly suspected that my Amendment 14 is a little more in the way of a probing amendment. I tabled it because of the concern I expressed earlier about the people not in the room when, by definition, a judicial review is brought by one party against a government department.

My Amendment 14 would be far less preferable to his Amendment 13 if we could clear up the problem with proposed subsection 29A(1)(b). As I said earlier, there is the question of whether that starts engaging the court with a more legislative function in deciding exactly who is and is not to benefit from the wider class of citizens not in the room.

So, we are back to the Minister’s saying that this is just about putting some extra discretionary tools in the judicial toolbox, to be used where appropriate. If that is the case and we could clear up the issue with paragraph (b), I would have no problem with allowing this extra tool, so that, in some cases, the quashing could not take effect until a future date, and the department could sort itself out and effect new regulations or, if necessary, even come to Parliament with emergency legislation. As a former government lawyer, I would have no problem with that possibility—but why all the rest of it?

On the one hand, the Minister talks about trusting the courts; on the other hand, we are all to be tied in knots with our various interpretations of all the various differently tilted tests that follow. That is probably the difference between me and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood. I say that because I have genuinely changed my mind about various aspects of this during Committee. If it is just a tool in the toolbox, make it an open-textured discretion that allows the suspended quashing order, and leave the rest to the court.

I shall make two further points. The noble Lord, Lord Anderson, made an essential point that is worth repeating: central government is a party to most judicial reviews and certainly the ones that are going to cause concern to the Government. So the Government can relax a little at this stage, knowing that any crucial arguments about the effect of particular discretionary remedies on wider public administration will be put by government lawyers to the court. Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, talked about the risk of litigation with an overly complex provision. That has to be taken seriously. I hope it will not be said in response that that amounts to a threat. That has been said to me in the past when I have suggested that a convoluted provision will lead to litigation. It is not a threat; it is based on experience of what happens when discretion is tied in knots in that way. Inevitably, that leads to more litigation, not less.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Portrait Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd (CB)
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My Lords, I entirely support the amendments put forward, for the reasons that have been given. I do not want to add to them. It seems odd to give judges discretion and say that we trust them, then immediately circumscribe what they can do.

That leads to my concern about new Section 29A(10). When listening to the Minister earlier, I asked myself why new Section 29A(8) was there because all the points are perfectly obvious. I wonder whether we are looking at a new technique here being laid down for future use. Do you list perfectly obvious things in new subsection (8) to bring in the killer in new subsection (10)? I hope the Minister can assure us that we are not going to see in any future legislation dealing with judicial review—who knows whether there will be any—the codification of perfectly obvious principles as a means of bringing in by the back door what one sees here in new subsection (10).

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Non-Afl)
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Perhaps I might briefly add to that point before the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, speaks. An absolutely classic example of legislating for discretion would be Section 33 of the Limitation Act, which courts are applying every single day of the week, which lists a large number of factors which the court may take into account and concludes by saying that it may take any other thing into account. Although I absolutely take the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, there is nothing particularly unusual about setting out in detail the discretion and then, nevertheless, allowing the court to take into account other matters.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Debate between Lord Faulks and Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd
Committee stage & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 9th February 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 View all Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 129-II Second marshalled list for Committee - (4 Feb 2021)
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Portrait Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd (CB) [V]
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My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, spoke with such eloquence in making all the points that I can confine myself to making four short points.

First, as he rightly stressed, this is an important part of the conditions for TPIMs because it enables a judge and the Home Secretary, when making the decision, to concentrate on the factual evidence in relation to terrorist activity. The other conditions are more difficult to establish, or it might be more a question of judgment, but this at least concentrates on the facts.

Secondly, the amendment seeks what some may feel is an overgenerous compromise. I do not think so; I think that it is right to say that, for the first and initial period, a lower standard can be acceptable.

However, thirdly, that cannot be acceptable when one is looking at longer periods where a person’s liberty is to be constrained—particularly with the amendment that we will come to next, which concerns the indefinite detention period.

Fourthly, and finally, it seems to me that there can be no justification for making such a change unless there is evidence. Indeed, what was said about the position in the other place has been clearly set out.

I ask the Minister to set out fully what he believes is the evidence for this change. If he cannot do so in public on this occasion, there must be a means of informing those who are interested in this matter of the evidence so that it can be carefully reviewed before we impose on people accused of obviously very serious issues a standard of proof that really is completely unacceptable in any civilised society.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Non-Afl) [V]
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My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, has given your Lordships a very clear and succinct history of control orders and TPIMs—as one would expect, given his experience. He pointed out very fairly that control orders had the very same test that it is now proposed in the Bill should be used to decide whether a TPIM is appropriate. It is also worth pointing out that control orders were highly controversial and subject to a considerable number of challenges in the courts to see whether they survived a proper challenge based on the European Court of Human Rights and the convention. They survived that, which will reassure your Lordships.

I accept that the amendment put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, which is supported by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, is relatively modest, and I understand the reasoning for it, whereas the amendment put forward by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, goes rather further and seems to involve a degree of subjectivity—although I will listen with interest to what he says—and that subjectivity might be difficult to satisfy.