Committee of Privileges

(asked on 16th January 2023) - View Source

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Rolfe on 29 November (HL3547) concerning the legal opinion by Lord Pannick published by the Government on 2 September, whether professional legal privilege was waived in relation to the (1) commissioning, and (2) intended publication, of the (a) first, and (b) second, legal opinion by Lord Pannick; and whether any waiving of legal privilege has any implications for (i) their policy of not commenting on legal advice, or (ii) their publishing obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Answered by
Baroness Neville-Rolfe Portrait
Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
This question was answered on 26th January 2023

Legal professional privilege was waived to the extent necessary to allow publication of Lord Pannick’s legal opinion on 2 September 2022. As set out in HL354, given the exceptional circumstances, the Government at the time determined it was in the public interest for Lord Pannick’s legal opinion to be published. It remains the case that the Government does not comment on legal advice that may or may not have been sought or received. This is in line with the long-standing policy under successive administrations.

The government’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 remain unchanged. Every request made under the Act is considered on a case by case basis.

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