HL Deb 26 February 1987 vol 485 cc354-76

5.18 p.m.

Lord Glenarthur

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on Recommitment on the Bill in respect of Clauses 48 to 51.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee on Recommitment.—(Lord Cilenarthur.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD AYLESTONE in the Chair.]

Clause 48 [Lord Advocate's direction]:

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 44, line 20, at end insert ("The Lord Advocate shall be responsible for the actions of a nominated officer in his exercise of the powers and functions conferred on him.").

The noble Lord said: In considering this part of the Bill—and I trust the Committee will forgive me for dealing with it in general first—I think it is necessary to make clear the position of myself and my noble friends on this side. We agree that serious or complex fraud is a great problem and one which deserves special provision. For many years the prosecution of fairly large frauds in Scotland, and especially the preparation of the case for prosecution, has been far from satisfactory and it is a matter which I personally have raised with the last two predecessors of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate in office.

The Government are to be congratulated for having set up in the Crown Office a fraud unit. But it is clear from this part of the Bill that the Government do not consider that that is enough; and we agree.

The clauses that we have to consider are difficult because they raise the question of the appropriate balance between the right and freedom of the individual and the need to prosecute and convict the perpetrators of serious fraud. If I may say so, there is no disagreement whatever between the parties. Perhaps I may emphasise that by quoting the noble Lord's right honourable friend the Secretary of State at the Home Office, who on the similar Criminal Justice Bill for England, said: We all want to enable the director and staff of the serious fraud office to act quickly and effectively and to follow complicated trails wherever they lead, but we do not want to create an unprecedented creature whose tentacles will reach into every person's privacy".—[0fficial Report, Commons, 13/1/87; col. 61.] I wholly agree with that and I think that that is the issue which we have to consider. It is unfortunate that the Government did not feel able to include the clauses, which follow the English Bill very closely, presented at a time when they could have been discussed at Second Reading and, perhaps more importantly, when we could have received advice and suggestions from the bodies having an interest in this matter, such as the Law Society, the Faculty of Advocates, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and other bodies. However, we must do the best we can.

As regards this particular amendment, the provisions of the Bill differ from the English Bill in that, rather than setting up a serious fraud office and a director, we have the situation in which the Lord Advocate nominates an officer for a particular offence. As I understand it, that officer is therefore not the same for separate offences. It is far from clear who the nominated officer will be and what his status will be. It is not clear whether he is to be someone who is perhaps similar in position to a person appointed to investigate under the Companies Act who is an independent contractor, so to speak. In that case, he may be a Queen's Counsel or a prominent accountant.

Alternatively, is he to be a civil servant? Who is to be responsible for his misdemeanours, if any complaints about his conduct are made, as they may almost certainly be? Is this a matter for questions in Parliament to a Law Officer or is it a matter to be referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner? Will it be possible to criticise or complain about such a person? It is for those reasons that I have put down the amendment, which will make the Lord Advocate responsible for the officer's actions and answerable for them. I beg to move.

The Lord Advocate (Lord Cameron of Lochbroom)

I am grateful to the noble Lord opposite for the general welcome which he has accorded to the particular clauses which we are to look at again on recommitment. I agree with him that one must look for the proper balance, having regard to the public interest on the one hand, and at the end of the day, the person who stands accused of a serious and complex fraud. I am also particularly grateful to the noble Lord for recognising that we have, within the Crown Office and as long ago as June 1984, set up a fraud unit in order to deal with the more serious and complex forms of fraud which have arisen in recent years.

I should like to make clear the reasons the term "nominated officer" is used here. Normally, I would expect that officer to be a member of the Crown Office or the fraud unit staff, or perhaps even a procurator fiscal or a procurator fiscal depute. However, the definition is wider to allow for the possibility that in a more complex fraud inquiry the Lord Advocate might authorise an accountant who was not a member of his staff to carry out part of the investigations which called for specialised professional skills. I think that the noble Lord opposite will recognise the importance of being able to provide for such an appointment.

I should like to make clear to the Committee that in so far as the officer is a person nominated by the Lord Advocate, who acts within the powers conferred upon him by the clause and for the purposes of the particular investigation in respect of which the nomination is made, then I would clearly be answerable for anything that he might do or any omissions on his part because he would of course be acting on my behalf. I hope that that assurance will satisfy the noble Lord opposite.

In so far as I understand this to be a probing amendment, I hope that that will answer the points the noble Lord has made. I only wish to say that I should be concerned that any express provision of this kind should appear in the Bill. It would then cast doubt on the responsibility of the Lord Advocate of the day for the actions of his agents and notably of the procurator fiscal in other circumstances under a well-known brocard, expressio unius. Perhaps in the light of that explanation the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I must say that I find the answer of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate a bit disappointing. I should have thought that an express provision in the Bill was desirable. I entirely accept that the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Advocate will himself, during his period in office, accept full responsibility. However, one must think of the years ahead. Knowing the Crown Office, I must say that on the whole I think that in 10, 20 or more years it might be as well that this provision was in the Bill so that no future Lord Advocate, when many of us are perhaps dead and gone, will have any doubts in the matter.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I also regret that the noble and learned Lord has not seen fit to accept this amendment. Quite apart from the question of answerability in the sense of answering questions about one's actions, if the nominated officer is not an employee of the Crown Office and if he misbehaves or acts outside the scope of his appointment in some way, there is the possibility of claims for damages. That might occur if his investigations caused serious disruption to someone's business. I think that the matter should be made clear and I hope that the noble and learned Lord will be prepared to consider it further.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I am bound to say that I think the noble Lord has moved on to a slightly different point. I was dealing with the question of responsibility. I have made it quite clear that I would be responsible for the nominated officer's actings within the scope of his agency and in the course of an investigation. I think that if a person nominated were to stray beyond the powers which he could properly exercise, then his actions would, to that extent, be ultra viresand unlawful. He should, in those circumstances, remain personally liable to account for what he has done.

One reaches the stage here of ostensible authority. I find it very difficult to formulate the kind of situation in which the nominated officer would be acting outside the scope of his ostensible authority. I would remain liable to account to your Lordships, as would any Lord Advocate, for the actions of the nominated officer. When it comes to personal liability in relation to action for damages I accept that the common law would operate as to the question of scope of his authority. If he went outwith the scope of his authority to that extent he would be personally liable to account for what he had done.

I hope that I have answered the noble Lord's point. I did not understand it to arise out of the formulation of his amendment. I hope that that will suffice.

5.30 p.m.

Lord Morton of Shuna

Not entirely, because it is a distinction between the position in England as it is to be and the position in Scotland. In England, as we understand from the discussions in another place, the serious fraud office, the director of it and all his officials are to be civil servants. There is a clear responsibility on the Government for the misdemeanours of a civil servant, whether acting outwith his ostensible authority or otherwise, in the exercise of his duty. This raises a problem and I hope that the noble and learned Lord will take it away and consider it. I do not wish to detain the Committee by asking on this point for its opinion.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

As the noble Lord has now made the thrust of his argument more clear, I assure him that I shall certainly consider it.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 44, line 22, leave out ("one of his deputies") and insert ("by the Solicitor General for Scotland").

The noble Lord said: A serious or complex fraud is a matter of some importance. It has been said in another place—and I regret that I shall have to refer several times to discussions in another place—that there are expected to be about 50 to 100 English or Welsh cases. In Scotland, therefore, one could expect something of the order of five to ten or fewer cases a year. If a direction is to be given, it should not be by any one of the 12 or 13 deputies of the Lord Advocate but by a Law Officer. I beg to move.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I support the amendment. I get the impression that the Lord Advocate will not be hostile to it, so I need say no more.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I cannot think what gave the noble and learned Lord that impression. I am happy to say that I recognise that from time to time certain matters are reserved for personal decision by the Law Officers. I am persuaded to accept that such a step is appropriate in this case.

I cannot invite the Committee to accept the amendment as it stands as the specific reference to "Solicitor General" is unneccesary in view, of the terms of Section 2 of the Law Officers Act 1944. I hope that the noble Lord opposite will withdraw his amendment on the understanding that I accept it in principle and that the Government will table a suitable amendment in another place.

Lord Morton of Shuna

It is far too much to hope that I could get the drafting absolutely right. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 48 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Morton of Shuna

I wish to raise on clause stand part the issue of the lack of any definition of what is a serious or complex fraud. It is rather difficult. It does not appear anywhere either in this Bill or in the English Bill. It is alternative—serious or complex. There are many frauds and, without any definition and leaving it entirely to the discretion of the Lord Advocate in Scotland as to what is serious or what is complex, I should have thought that there is a considerable difficulty, to which we may come when considering the next clauses, especially Clause 50, as to what we are dealing with and what people should expect. No doubt the noble and learned Lord will be able to respond.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

The noble Lord has pointed out that this echoes the phraseology in the English Bill. To that extent it is desirable that the two Bills should go hand in hand.

This question stems from the report submitted by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Roskill, who spoke in general terms of serious fraud and of the complex nature of it. It appears to us that it is impossible to provide a definition of what is serious or complex. Those words speak for themselves. One is giving the direction under Clause 48(1)(a) in relation to a suspected offence.

I am bound to say that this matter exercised me. At the end of the day I am persuaded that it is not possible to give any more detailed a direction than the words "serious or complex" as to the nature of a suspected offence which would bring into focus the powers of investigation that follow in Clause 49. No decision will be taken except by, as I now accept, a Law Officer. It would be his responsibility to satisfy himself that the suspected offence was of this grave nature. It is in an attempt to express the gravity of the suspected offence that these words are used.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I am inclined to agree with the Lord Advocate on this one. I should have thought that to anyone in the Scottish Crown Office a serious or complex fraud was rather like an elephant—difficult to describe but easy to recognise.

Lord Morton of Shuna

This discussion has been helpful. I see the reasons, and I understood them beforehand, but I think it was as well to put on the record that there was a lack of definition. I do not wish to take the matter further.

Clause 48 agreed to.

Clause 49 [Powers of investigation]:

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 3:

Page 44, line 25, leave out ("or any other person who he has reason to believe has relevant information").

The noble Lord said: It may be for the convenience of the Committee if we take Amendments Nos. 3, 4 and 5 together. These are important amendments. The clause as drafted gives extremely wide powers to the nominated officer. The purpose of the amendment is to leave out from these draconian or severe powers the person who might be described as the ordinary witness rather than the person who is under investigation.

As the clause is drafted the ordinary witness is forced to disclose information without a right to silence and with the possibility both of self-incrimination and of breaching rules and practices of confidentiality. There is a protection in subsection (6) with regard to legal privilege but there is no protection for banks, auditors, other accountants, doctors, ministers of religion, priests or a whole range of people. Those people may get information in a variety of circumstances under varying degrees of confidentiality and have no possible answer because they commit an offence if they do not give the information that is required.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 has provided certain safeguards in relation to search warrants for people in such categories, but none of that applies to Scotland. Quite apart from the difficulty about the person such as the bank manager, the auditor or the minister of religion, there is the question of the right balance of the right to silence and the duty not to force somebody to incriminate himelf. This has always been recognised as a basic right upon which the criminal law and the freedom of the subject are dependent.

It is, I would suggest, a matter of some concern that, over and over again in the last few years, we have been asked in specific cases—which may justify some erosion of principle—to whittle away at these rights and to set precedents which might be used at a later date to erode the rights more fully. Lord Roskill's report does not seek anything like these rights. As I understand it, his report only suggests a certain emendation to the Section 447 of the Companies Act investigation provision and even Section 447 of the Companies Act is restricted to investigations of the company under investigation and not of other persons. The other Companies Acts investigations under Section 431 and thereafter have a requirement that the investigator shall act fairly and give the person criticised the right to see the draft report and to make answer if he so wishes.

The Financial Services Act, which the noble and learned Lord and I tried to understand last year, has investigation provisions, but these are also restricted. It does seem to me that this is exactly what the Secretary of State had in mind when he was talking about creating an unprecedented creature whose tentacles will reach into every person's privacy.

On the similar and almost identical clauses in the English Bill the noble and learned Lord's right honourable friend agreed in another place that the clause must be made more specific and undertook to consider how this could be best amended on these particular amendments which I am putting forward. I very much hope therefore that the noble and learned Lord will adopt the same approach in considering these amendments. I beg to move.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

While I recognise the noble Lord's concern, I am bound to say that the amendment proposed would, in my view, emasculate the Bill's provisions. I noted what the noble Lord opposite said when he spoke about the ordinary witness and spoke about the right to silence. What he would leave in would be the power of a nominated officer to require the person whose affairs are to be investigated to attend. He would, however, take out—curiously enough—the persons whom he had reason to believe had relevant information—that is to say, the witnesses.

It is a cardinal rule, as I undersand it and as I think the noble Lord opposite will accept, that in general terms the ordinary individual has a duty to assist in providing information which, at the end of the day, may be relevant in bringing another person to justice. Indeed, I think it is often said by the courts, for instance, that where the defence approaches a person who is on the Crown list of witnesses he is under a public duty to provide information for the defence and equally for the prosecution.

Therefore, I do not find the noble Lord's argument on this a compelling one. It is important to remember that we are dealing here, as the noble Lord opposite recognises, with matters of considerable current concern: the gowth of serious and complex fraud and the increasing sophistication and expertise of those who engage in such criminal activity. To confine the effective investigation of suspected serious fraud simply to the person whose affairs are under investigation, so far as answering questions or the recovery of documents is concerned, seems to me to impose far too great a limitation upon the appropriate investigation and would make it impossible to establish the facts or bring home the crime to the perpetrator. In many cases, for instance, it would be impossible to establish at an early stage who were the witnesses and who were the victims and these would be persons whom it would be very important to discover at an early stage.

I understood the noble Lord to suggest that my right honourable friend in another place had given certain undertakings but I am not aware of that. I should merely say that, as I understand it, the provision, as it is presently drafted in this clause, mirrors the equivalent provision for England and Wales as contained and approved in the Criminal Justice Bill currently under consideration in another place. All I have to say is that it would be extremely regrettable that the powers of investigation should be significantly less effective and more limited north of the Border than south of it in dealing with this very serious problem.

The noble Lord will be well aware that, for instance, when a procurator fiscal is precognoscing a case he has of course power under Clause 49(2) to require the possessors of documents to produce them.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I wonder if the noble and learned Lord will forgive me. In Hansardfor 13th January, at the foot of col. 61 he will see that his right honourable friend said that the clause must be made more clear to clarify the right honourable gentleman's point and that they should consider how best that could be done. I should have thought that was an undertaking.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

The noble Lord has been good enough now to direct me to the particular part of my right honourable friend's reply and I would simply say that, in the light of that, I should certainly be prepared to consider this because I do accept that the phraseology and the framing of this clause and the powers contained in it, should be equivalent north and south of the Border.

I do make the point, nevertheless, that I should have to be persuaded that those who may have valuable information and whose affairs are not being investigated as such should be excluded from the powers of investigation which are contained in this clause, because it seems to me that one is restricting the powers of investigation at the early and most opportune moment in a way which would not be consistent with the necessary balance which we are seeking here. However, I undertake to consider this further in the light of what my right honourable friend has said.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I am much obliged to the noble and learned Lord. However, I would point out, as he did, that it is quite possible for the suspect to become a witness and the witness to become a suspect, so to speak. It is also not the case that anywhere other than in the Bill, so far as I am aware, is there any compulsion for a witness to produce evidence under threat of penalty by imprisonment. I am totally unaware of that. It flies in the face, if I may quote English authority, of the Royal Commission on Criminal Evidence, chaired by Sir Cyril Philips, I believe, in 1981. It was suggested to be completely contrary to the nature of criminal procedure. There is no such thing. It is entirely new.

In Scottish law we depend on witnesses voluntarily giving evidence, perhaps under a moral duty, but with no compulsion that they will be slapped into gaol if they do not. That is the problem here. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 not moved.]

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 44, line 41, at end insert ("provided that before questioning a person under this subsection the nominated officer shall caution hint").

The noble Lord said: It is very difficult to separate the arguments on these various amendments because this again raises the right to silence and the possibility of self-incrimination.

The purpose of the amendment is to impose a duty to caution when one reaches the stage of giving explanations of documents, and so on. In a recent murder investigation in Scotland there was an occasion, as the noble and learned Lord will be aware, when the police officers were questioning a person who, in the course questioning, became a suspect arising from an answer which he gave. Therefore, the police officer cautioned him and advised him that he, the police officer, wanted to question the suspect further and that any answers he might give could be used in evidence. Unfortunately, although a senior police officer, he forgot to include in the caution the fact that the person was not obliged to answer any questions. As a result, the evidence was ruled to be inadmissible and the case collapsed.

One can think of fewer more serious cases than that of the murder of a girl—if I remember correctly, a teenager. Are we really saying that serious fraud is more important than murder, that it is more important than any other crime? Are we saying that somebody can be forced to answer questions without any caution or right to silence and perhaps forced into a position where that person incriminates himself?

I have already referred to the Royal Commission which has completely thrown out that idea. It would be very unfortunate if there were less freedom for the subject in Scotland than in England. I hope that the noble and learned Lord will accept this amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I cannot accept the burden of the noble Lord's argument on this matter. It is important perhaps to see to what this amendment is directed. It proceeds in relation to Clause 49(2) and a notice in writing requiring a person to produce certain specified documents. Subsection (2)(a) provides that,

"if any such documents are produced, a nominated officer may—

  1. (i) take copies or extracts from them;
  2. (ii) require the person producing them to provide an explanation of any of them".

It is not to paragraph (a) that the amendment is directed. It is to the next paragraph, paragraph (b), which states: if any such documents are not produced, a nominated officer may require the person who was required to produce them to state, to the best of his knowledge and belief, where they are". I should have thought candidly—

Lord Morton of Shuna

I apologise for intervening. The noble and learned Lord has pointed out where the amendment should have applied, so perhaps we can discuss it on the basis that it should have been after subsection (2)(a)(ii).

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I think that in the circumstances I would have to look at this again. I am bound to say that this is a matter which arose under the last debate we had. At this stage I would not wish to answer the matter further, other than to say that obviously a question may arise if, for example, this clause were to be limited to the person whose affairs are to be investigated, and all that follows. I give no undertaking in the matter but since I see now what is the purpose of this particular amendment I wish to consider it further. It does not appear to me to be relevant in its present place.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I am obliged to the noble and learned Lord. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No 7:

Page 45, line 8, at end insert ("accompanied by the nominated officer or his representative wherever practicable")

The noble Lord said: This amendment relates to the circumstances where a constable is given a warrant authorising him, to enter (using such force as is reasonably necessary for the purpose)".

and so on.

The purpose of the amendment is this. It is necessary in matters of serious or complex fraud that the person exercising the search warrants should know what he or she is looking for and, wherever possible, should not take more than is required under the terms of the warrant. In another place suggestions that police officers executing such search warrants should always be accompanied by a representative of the serious fraud office were met by the Government pointing out that there were certain circumstances of extreme urgency, or extreme weather conditions, which could prevent that happening. The Government agreed that it was highly desirable that the constable should be accompanied and it is to meet that situation that the last two words "wherever practicable" are included in my amendment.

It is necessary that a search warrant should not extend beyond what is required to be covered. Without wanting to go back into Queen Margaret Drive in Glasgow—we have had discussions on that in various places—it is also clear that what is recovered should not be wider than what is required or justified by the warrant and that the officer should know what to look for and how to recognise it when he finds it.

Police officers may be quite good at finding drugs. They are trained to find drugs and other articles, but whether they are trained to discover book entries or computer entries relating to fraud is not necessarily so. Therefore, I beg to move.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I am going to consider this matter but I am bound to say that I would not be disposed to accept an amendment which made it part of every warrant that the terms were to authorise a named constable to be, accompanied by the nominated officer or his representative wherever practicable". That is for a variety of reasons.

It may well be that the warrant is sought only in order to obtain a perfectly identifiable document such as a passport. In ordinary fraud cases police officers are well accustomed to making searches and discovering quite sophisticated documents. As the noble Lord opposite is well aware, there are circumstances in which the procurator fiscal may seek to have a warrant extended in order to allow other persons to accompany the constable for purposes of the search. I suspect that that is what the noble Lord opposite is seeking to do. For instance, he may have in mind the terms of Section 448(2) of the Companies Act.

I take the noble Lord's point and I should like to look further at it. However, I wish to make it quite clear that I could not possibly accept this provision as being a necessary adjunct of every warrant that is to be sought under this clause. I think the noble Lord will accept that if the phraseology which he has adopted were to be incorporated in every warrant, it could offer scope for enormous challenge as to the validity of the warrant and the propriety of its execution. For instance, where it had not been possible for the nominated officer or representative to attend, because it may have been one of many warrants granted at the same time to be immediately executed, an argument could then arise on the facts of whether it was or was not practicable for the person to go.

Perhaps the noble Lord will be content with my offer to look at this matter against the background of the Companies Act. I shall be very happy to do so because I see what I think he is seeking to obtain.

6 p.m.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I am glad that the noble and learned Lord is prepared to look at this matter. Perhaps I may make the point once and then leave it. I have had 10 days to look at the provisions whereas the noble and learned Lord has been studying them for rather longer. We were told by his noble friend Lord Glenarthur on 9th December that they were not yet ready to be brought in and by that time identical provisions in the Criminal Justice Bill had already been published.

I am pleased that this matter is to be looked at again. I think it is a fairly serious point. I do not claim to have the wording right and I think that I could hardly do so from this side of the Chamber. However, perhaps I shall have other opportunities later. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 8:

Page 45, line 21, leave out ("his client") and insert ("any client of his in respect of whom legal privilege is claimed in respect of any requirement under this section").

The noble Lord said: Perhaps I may make some criticism of the drafting of subsection (6): A person shall not under this section be required to disclose any information or produce any document which is an item subject to legal privilege"—

which I presume is a printing error— within the meaning of section 37 of this Act; except that a lawyer may be required to furnish the name and address of his client".

The obvious question is: which client? The aim is to sort out that question because even in Scotland there are lawyers who have more than one client. To put it quite clearly, it is: any client of his in respect of whom legal privilege is claimed".

I think that is perhaps what is intended but not clearly expressed. Presumably the lawyer says, "Yes, I have this document but I claim privilege for it". The next question would be: "What is the name and address of the client in respect of whom you are claiming privilege?" because of course it is the client's privilege and not the lawyer's in that sense. I beg to move.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I have listened with interest to the noble Lord's explanation of this amendment and would observe that this subsection has a fairly respectable lineage. In fact, it is to be found in not dissimilar terms in Section 452 of the Companies Act 1985 and again in Section 105(6) of the Financial Services Act 1986. I think that subsection is of some importance. It reads: A person shall not under this section be required to disclose any information or produce any document which he would be entitled to refuse to disclose or produce on grounds of legal professional privilege in proceedings in the High Court or on grounds of confidentiality as between client and professional legal adviser in proceedings in the Court of Session except that a lawyer may be required to furnish the name and address of his client". So the words "his client" appear there.

In this subsection the privilege is not extended in detail. It is of course the privilege accorded by Clause 37 of the Bill. Noble Lords will find it defined there as:

  1. "(a) communications between a professional legal adviser and his client, or
  2. (b) communications made in connection with or in contemplation of legal proceedings and for the purposes of these proceedings".
I should have thought that when the two are married up it is quite plain that the reference to "his client" in subsection (6) is the reference to "his client" in the definition of "items subject to legal privilege" in Clause 37 and thus the matter is clear beyond doubt. Perhaps with that explanation the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Morton of Shuna

It is always interesting to receive these explanations. I have never been able to understand why it is necessary that one should not put in as clear and as short a frame as possible in one place in a Bill what is meant, even if it is repetitious.

No doubt if one leaps from page 45 to page 31 and one knows that legal proceedings are or may be in contemplation it is possible to understand what that means; but why not put it so that it is quite clearly expressed in one clause? If there is some reason why that cannot be done, no doubt the noble and learned Lord will tell us. However, I do not wish to divide the Committee and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 49 agreed to.

Clause 50 [Offences in relation to investigations tinder section 49]:

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 9:

Page 45, line 44, leave out ("or has reasonable grounds to suspect").

The noble Lord said: Perhaps I may in this case speak also to Amendment No. 10. This is a very draconian clause, which first of all deals with the person concerned in subsections (1) and (2). It creates an offence and if that person is guilty of that offence, under subsection (3) he may go to prison for seven years. The clause also deals with the penalty for failing to answer the questions that may be required of him or failing to produce documents that may be required of him under Clause 49, for which he may go to prison for six months.

My amendments are concerned with the initial stages of that matter. A person has to know or suspect or have reasonable grounds, to suspect that an investigation under section 49 of this Act is being carried out or is likely to be carried out". We have already discussed the difficulty of defining a serious or complex fraud. We hope that there will be only a few, but the estimate is that there will be between five and 10 a year. The person will not know—usually until the warrant arrives on him, I suspect—that the Lord Advocate has given a direction, because I doubt whether the Lord Advocate will advertise his directions. They will happen fast, and it is right that that should be so.

If someone "destroys"—that is one of the words in Clause 50(1)(b)—documents: which he knows or suspects or has reasonable grounds to suspect are or would be relevant to such an investigation", he commits an offence. If it is what can be described as an ordinary fraud, one of the hundreds of thousands of ordinary frauds that take place in Scotland each year, how is he to have reasonable grounds to suspect that the Lord Advocate is likely to make a direction to operate Clause 49? It is impossible to say that, and therefore the amendment is directed to that issue. The person would only be guilty if he in fact knows or has a suspicion that an inquiry is likely to be ordered. One reaches a situation where a person is going to prison for seven years, and if under this clause he does not know and does not suspect, has reasonable grounds for suspecting, but never recognises that he has those reasonable grounds, that is a long time to go away for to consider that you should think more carefully.

That is proper when the person knows and when he in fact suspects, but if all that the Crown can prove is that he has reasonable grounds to suspect, which means that the Crown cannot prove that he did suspect, that seems entirely wrong. That is the reason for Amendment No. 9.

If the amendment were accepted, it seems to me that it would necessarily follow that Clause 50(2)(a) would become irrelevant, because that is a defence: that he did not know or suspect", whereas under Clause 50(1)(a) the Crown has already had to prove that he did know or suspect. That is why I am speaking to Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 together. I beg to move Amendment No. 9.

6.15 p.m.

Lord Wilson of Langside

I am disposed to support the amendment. When I first saw the provision I could not understand why it was thought necessary to put or has reasonable grounds to suspect". After all, a person should not suspect anything unless he has reasonable grounds to do so.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I have listened with interest to what both noble Lords have said. I feel a sense of déjà vu, because I recollect in debates on the Financial Services Act, when it was still in embryo, the noble Lord opposite saying how difficult it was for the Crown to prove knowledge. I think that he then added something similar to the words which are here, "reasonable grounds to suspect"; that is to say, using an objective test to determine the issue, leaving open of course the defence that where, objectively, a person should have known, it would still be a defence for him to prove that he did not know or suspect that by acting as he did he was likely to prejudice the investigation.

Destroying documents in certain circumstances where an investigation is in mind may be a criminal offence, as I think the noble Lord opposite recognises; nevertheless, there is some cause to look at this provision again in relation to those words, and I am happy to do that. The noble Lord adverted to a point which is not covered by this amendment or Amendment No. 10 to which I shall return in a moment. It relates to the words: or is likely to be carried out". He did point out, and I would of course accept, that the investigation which is likely to be carried out is the investigation under a direction by the Lord Advocate. It may be asked how that will ever be established and in what circumstances.

I should make it clear that what we have in mind is, for instance, the individual who may become the person whose affairs are to be investigated, who has good reason to suspect that all has been discovered; for example, the board of directors may have decided that day to report him to the procurator fiscal or the Lord Advocate for what was obviously a serious abuse of trust involving many millions of pounds. He could then embark upon the destruction, falsification and so forth of the documents which might be relevant to that investigation.

That is the kind of situation we have in mind in relation to Clause 50. Others have suggested to me in passing that the use of the words "any person" does not mean to say that it must be a person under investigation. It is difficult to try to postulate circumstances in which any other person, who is not himself under suspicion, would fall within that provision unless there had been some pretty clear announcement that an investigation was to be launched the next day, or something of that kind, which had been made public. I can only try to conceive of such circumstances, but I should have thought that it could only be circumstances in which some person other than the person whose affairs were being investigated would be involved. Or, putting it another way, perhaps one of the directors who was party to the decision to go to the Lord Advocate or the procurator fiscal, whoever it may be, then himself takes part, although he was not a party to the fraud, in falsifying or concealing or destroying the documents.

I have added this because although it does not fall within the amendment I felt it was appropriate to respond to something the noble Lord opposite has said. Perhaps I may say that in regard to the second amendment, Amendment No. 10, which deletes subsection (2)(a), I think there may be some degree of misunderstanding. I quite agree that a defence of this nature is unnecessary or superfluous in relation to an offence which requires proof of knowledge or suspicion. But this defence relates also, and more particularly, to the second leg of the offence in subsection (1)(b), knowledge or suspicion that the documents would be relevant, as much as and probably more than the knowledge or suspicion that an investigation was in train or was likely to be in train.

The effect of removing this subsection would be that it would deprive the accused in such circumstances of what would obviously be an entirely appropriate defence. I do not think that is what the noble Lord opposite intended, but I have to say that is one of the reasons why I could not accept the second amendment, although I am prepared to look again at the first amendment to see whether there is any way in which we can meet the concerns which he has expressed without at the same time imposing an unrealistic burden on the Crown.

Lord Williams of Elvel

I hesitate to intervene in the Committee stage so late and also on a Scottish Bill, but I gave notice to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate that I might at some stage in the proceedings this afternoon comment on some of the points which seemed to me to be extremely important and which he has very kindly undertaken to consider.

I believe that his reference to the Financial Services Act was most apt because it is in the area of financial services and indeed banking transactions that Clause 50 of this Bill becomes most difficult. If a bank or a broker or any other financial institution, as an intermediary, has to decide for himself whether it is a fraud or whether it is a serious fraud or a serious and complex fraud before deciding whether or not he should try to dig out his computer print-out of five days ago or 10 weeks ago on a £10 million transaction on the foreign exchange market which he has wiped out automatically, I simply do not see how it can be done unless the Lord Advocate has at that point made it absolutely clear that there is a direction and there is a case or potential case of a serious and complex fraud.

The noble and learned Lord gave as an instance the possibility of a board of directors reporting to the Lord Advocate that in their view there might be a case for a direction. Suppose they ring up the bank and say, "We have taken this decision", and suppose the bank say, "That's a very interesting point. We don't actually happen to think (but we are not in possession of all the facts) that it is a serious and complex fraud; we think it is just a fraud".

What is the position there of the bank under the Bill as at present drafted? Have they reasonable grounds to suspect? Well, no, their lawyers advise them that so far as they know this is only a fraud. Therefore they are all right in not having kept records of the transaction which may have taken place some time ago and which in the normal course of business they may have destroyed. They may not have destroyed them, but they may have destroyed them.

All these areas which involve very large sums of money and where transactions are carried out by intermediaries in the financial services area in good faith seem to me to be the object of serious study when Clause 50 is looked at. If Clause 50 goes through as it stands, and even if it goes through, as the noble and learned Lord has undertaken to consider, in some modified form of preserving the essence of the clause, and if this same wording or wording similar to it is used in the Bill for England and Wales, then I really see some major problems for the financial services sector.

I should be grateful if the noble and learned Lord could pay attention to what I say because I am raising a very serious problem.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

The noble Lord was indeed good enough to give me notice of this point and that is why I anticipated his intervention to speak as I did. I always find it difficult to deal with essentially hypothetical cases. I think in the case which he instanced, even if—and I should have thought it highly unlikely—the Crown were to have proceeded against the bank, there would be no doubt that the bank would have a defence under subsection (2)(b). But I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising the matter. Obviously since I have undertaken to consider the point raised by the noble Lord in his Amendment No. 9, this is something which I can again consider in that context.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I am very much obliged both to the noble and learned Lord and to my noble friend Lord Williams. As I said on another occasion, it is always pleasant to have an intervention from sombody other than the noble and learned Lord opposite and myself taking part in Scottish criminal debates. I ask leave to withdraw Amendment No. 9.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 10 not moved.]

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 11.

Page 46, line 24, at end insert ("or that he reasonably believed that if he complied with a requirement he would thereby incriminate himself").

The noble Lord said: This amendment is to add to the end of this clause in subsection (5), where it says: In proceedings against a person for an offence under subsection (4) above, it shall be a defence to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for acting as he did". The amendment would add: ("or that he reasonably believed that if he complied with a requirement he would thereby incriminate himself'). This is an amendment which was discussed in another place on the other Bill. I have had made available to me the briefing supplied by the Law Society of England. This suggests that the defence, as it is in subsection (5), would, from precedent, be available only in cases of inability to comply rather than unwillingness to comply. If that is right, it would obviously be essential to have something wider put in. But in my submission, as the right to silence and the right not to be forced to incriminate oneself are most important, it is appropriate that that should be spelt out. It is for that reason that I beg to move the amendment.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I have to say that at the present moment I am not disposed to advise the Committee to accept this amendment for the reason which I suggested. That is that it would seriously weaken the effect of the provisions in Clause 49 if a person were able to refuse to answer questions or to produce documents if he believed that he might thus incriminate himself.

The only person who would be likely to benefit from such a provision would be the person who had knowingly committed a fraud: he might be able to ensure that the necessary evidence did not fall into the hands of the prosecution. That seems to me to produce the wrong tilt of the balance which both the noble Lord opposite and myself were concerned to secure and to which he referred in his opening remarks. I therefore regret that I cannot accept this amendment. I am advised that there is a similar provision in the English Bill and that this has remained unchanged. I hope that I am correct in that respect. Accordingly, I cannot accept or even undertake to consider this for the very reasons that I have suggested. It tilts the balance too far.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Grimond

I am encouraged to intervene by the noble Lord who wishes to hear other voices. I have listened with great interest to the debate about whether we should to some extent depart from the principle that no one is bound to incriminate himself. I had understood at earlier debates that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Advocate accepted that he would have to look again at various proposals which were designed to obviate this risk.

Do I understand on this occasion that he is saying that, even though it is clear that the person concerned may incriminate himself, nevertheless he is not entitled to what I understand is the usual defence in both English and Scottish law that no one—whether a witness or an accused person—is bound to incriminate himself and that he has a right of silence. Is that now to be departed from in this instance?

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

No, I am not departing from that. I undertook to deal with an earlier amendment which the noble Lord opposite proposed in Clause 49 which was to take out words in Clause 49(1) in relation to any other person—that is to say a person other than the person whose affairs are to be investigated—whom he has reason to believe has relevant information. It is in that context that I was prepared to look again. That was consistent with what my right honourable friend said in another place. I make clear that I consider that it would be tilting the balance too far to provide that he should be entitled to refuse to divulge information.

It is appropriate to remind noble Lords that anything said is covered by Clause 49(5). Perhaps I may read it to the Committee. It says: A statement by a person in compliance with a requirement imposed by virtue of this section may not be used in evidence against him". That may perhaps answer in part the point which the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, was raising.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I am very much obliged to the noble and learned Lord and especially to the noble Lord, Lord Grimond. However, it does not appear to me that the noble and learned Lord has answered the point at all.

The "person" under Clause 50(5) is a person who may be an ordinary witness, not the person being investigated. He may not be guilty of the serious or complex fraud but if he answers the questions or produces the documents, or whatever, he may be incriminating himself on another completely separate offence. What is to happen in that situation? That is not dealt with at all. Clause 49(5) says only that the statement is not used in evidence. But as the noble and learned Lord is well aware, there are often cases of police questioning where the statement made by the suspect is not admissible. But certainly the documents that are found, or the information that is found as a result of the statement, are admissible. I hope that the noble and learned Lord will consider this matter further—it is a very important issue—and will be prepared to consider it again. If not, I shall have to ask the opinion of the House.

6.35 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 11) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 38, Not-Contents, 75.

Airedale, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B
Aylestone. L. Morris, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Morton of Shuna, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.[Teller.]
David, B. [Teller.]
Foot, L. Raglan, L.
Gallacher, L. Seear, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
Grey, E. Shackleton, L.
Grimond, L. Simon, V.
Hanworth, V. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Hatch of Lusby. L. Strabolgi, L.
Howie of Troon, L. Underhill, L.
Irving of Dartford, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Jeger, B. Williams of Elvel, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Kilbracken, L. Winchilsea and Nottingham,E
Kilmarnock, L.
Abinger, L. Dundee, E.
Ampthill. L. Eden of Winton, L.
Bauer, L. Elliot of Harwood, B.
Beaverbrook. L. Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Elton, L.
Belstead, L. Enniskillen, E.
Boardman, L. Ferrers, E.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Ferrier, L.
Brabazon of Tara. L. Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Broadbridge. L. Gardiner of Parkes, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Glenarthur, L.
Broxbourne, L. Greenway, L.
Bruce-Gardyne, L. Hailsham of Saint
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Marylebone, L.
Carnock. L. Hesketh, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Hooper, B.
Cox, B. Hylton-Foster, B.
Craigmyle, L. Inglewood, L.
Cross, V. Lane-Fox, B.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Layton, L.
De La Warr, E. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Long, V.
Denning, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Dilhorne, V. Lyell, L.
Dormer, L. Malmesbury, E.
Marley, L. Rochdale, V.
Massereene and Ferrard, V. Rodney, L.
Maude of Stratford-upon- Avon, L. St. Davids, V.
Selborne, E.
Merrivale, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Mersey, V. Strathcona and Mount Royal,
Mottistone, L. L.
Mountevans, L. Swinfen, L.
Munster, E. Trumpington, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L. Vivian, L.
Onslow, E. Ward of Witley, V.
Orr-Ewing, L. Whitelaw, V.
Rankeillour, L. Windlesham, L.
Renton, L. Wyatt of Weeford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

6.43 p.m.

Lord Denham

My Lord, I think it might be helpful if I said something about this evening's business now. The original idea was that we would have reached rather further in the proceedings than we have at the moment. We thought that we would be well into the Pilotage Bill by seven o'clock. Therefore when we have finished this Bill it now looks as though I shall be moving the right form of words to ensure that we put off the Pilotage Bill until after the adjournment business has been completed. However, as we have just had a Division, it is useful for the House to know what is in our minds.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

My Lords, it will be helpful for those who are involved in the Pilotage Bill to know—shall we say?—that the Report stage of the Bill will not be taken before a quarter to eight.

Lord Denham

My Lords, I think that that would be a reasonable suggestion.

Clause 50 agreed to.

Clause 51 [Disclosure of information]:

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 12:

Page 46, line 30, after ("prosecution") insert ("of a serious or complex fraud in respect of which direction has been given under section 49 above, or an offence relating to inland revenue")

The noble Lord said: The purpose of the amendment is to bring the Scottish Bill into line with the English Bill. The comparable clause in the English Bill is Clause 3(1) in which it is stated that where information subject to the obligation of secrecy under the Taxes Management Act 1970 has been disclosed by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, and so on, to a member of the Serious Fraud Office, that information may be disclosed by any member of the Serious Fraud Office, first, for the purposes of any prosecution of which that office has conduct, and secondly, to any member of the Crown prosecution service for the purpose of an offence relating to the Inland Revenue but not otherwise.

Clause 51(1) says that: information may be disclosed by the Lord Advocate for the purposes of any prosecution of which he has the conduct". The number of prosecutions in Scotland of which the Lord Advocate has the conduct is quite considerable. The purpose of the amendment is to restrict this permission to disclose exactly to the same level of permission as is in the English Bill.

I may well—indeed, certainly will—have got the wording wrong; but I hope that the sense of the amendment will meet with the approval of the noble and learned Lord. Otherwise, it drives a complete horse and cart through the obligation of secrecy. I beg to move.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I am happy to assure the noble Lord that we have it in mind to be in line with the English Bill in this matter. He is right in suspecting that I am not happy with his drafting, and I think that it could be improved upon. An amendment will be brought in another place. In the light of that, I hope that the noble Lord will be able to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Morton of Shuna

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 13:

Page 46, line 37, after ("prosecution") insert ("of a serious or complex fraud").

The noble Lord said: The purpose of the amendment is almost exactly the same: to bring the Scottish provision into line with the English provision under Clause 3(3). The problem in the drafting is that it is the Lord Advocate who appears in the Scottish Bill and the Serious Fraud Office which appears in the English Bill, Therefore, it is necessary to add the restriction that it is the prosecution, of a serious or complex fraud". I beg to move.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

My understanding is that the equivalent provision of the English Bill is that such information may be disclosed for the purposes of any prosecution in England and Wales or elsewhere". The clause deals with the disclosure of information which is obtained under these provisions and is subject to an obligation of secrecy under an enactment other than the Taxes Management Act 1970. I think it justifiable that such information should be capable of being disclosed for the purposes of any prosecution, whether in Scotland or elsewhere. If an offence, which may be a very serious case indeed—for example, the laundering of drug trafficking proceeds—comes to light in this way, it should I think be pursued.

I made clear in response to the previous amendment that I am willing to accept a limitation in the special case of information obtained from the Inland Revenue. However, I do not think it right to introduce any further limitation of this kind. I should point out that the existing provision is on all fours with the equivalent provision of the Criminal Justice Bill.

I am bound to say—I think I said "any"—that the terms that I have in fact are, for the purpose of a prosecution in England and Wales or elsewhere". I do not think that it has been amended. Nevertheless, I understand that to be a more general purpose, and not subject to the restriction which obtains in regard to the previous clause. I therefore regret that I cannot accept the amendment.

Lord Morton of Shuna

The Committee may not be entirely surprised that after the events of a few minutes ago I do not intend to take the opinion of the Chamber. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 14:

Page 46, line 50, leave out ("(b) to any competent authority;").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I should like also to speak to Amendment No. 16 as they are linked in a sense. They are also probing amendments. It is far from clear, and it appears to be very wide indeed, as regards the kind of information that may be supplied and to whom, because the competent authority is: any body having supervisory, regulatory or disciplinary functions in relation to any profession or any area of commercial activity;". That could hardly be wider. It is apparently to enable the giving out of unspecified information which may be only rumour, suspicion or suggestion to any such body in almost any country. It is a wide suggestion and could have disastrous effects on perfectly innocent people. They may be affected by rumours which come from a country on the other side of the world and suddenly find themselves de-barred by their professional or commercial body. I tabled the amendments in the hope that we might have clarification of what was intended. I beg to move.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

It seems to me entirely proper that the Lord Advocate, or one of the nominated officers, who acting in the public interest has obtained certain information in the course of investigations into serious or complex fraud, should be able to bring that information to the attention of professional or supervisory bodies who also act for the protection of the public and have a legitimate interest in the conduct of their members.

I might take as an example a situation where the Lord Advocate might investigate a suspected serious fraud by a firm of solicitors and find that they are mishandling their clients' money. After investigation it might be concluded for various reasons that no criminal offences had occurred or at least that no criminal prosecution should take place, but nevertheless serious professional misconduct falling short of criminal activity had been revealed—serious breaches of the solicitors accounts rules might, for example, come to light. It would be quite wrong, I suggest, for the Lord Advocate to be compelled to turn a blind eye to such matters, and worse still for him to have to stand idly by while the conduct continued and members of the public continued to entrust their funds to that firm of solicitors. It would be quite unacceptable for the Lord Advocate to have to say, when the scandal ultimately broke, that he had been well aware of the situation but had been powerless to act.

I have chosen an example in the legal profession because I can more easily comprehend such an example, although it is not one I suggest should ever occur. I believe that it is one which the noble Lord opposite will also understand. However, I am sure that examples could easily be drawn from other professions or areas of commercial activity.

These amendments would have a further, and particularly serious consequence in that, by seeking to delete from the Bill subsection (5)(d), they would weaken our efforts to deal with international fraud by restricting the exchange of information with competent authorities in other countries. I am sure that the Committee will appreciate that the increasing complexity of business affairs and advances in communications and technology have resulted in it being commonplace for commercial activity to extend over many countries and legal systems. I therefore suggest that nothing is done which might curb the international response of the appropriate authorities to misconduct on an international scale.

It is for that reason that these bodies are set out as competent authorities for the purposes of subsection (5). I hope that now clarifies the matter for the noble Lord opposite.

Lord Morton of Shuna

It is always a pleasure to note the speed at which the noble and learned Lord can read. I took in as much as was possible at that speed and I shall read what he had to say. In the circumstance, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Morton of Shuna moved Amendment No. 15:

Page 47, line I, leave out ("investigation of an offence or").

The noble Lord said: This is an amendment which follows in terms an amendment made by the Government in the English Bill to Clause 3(5)(c) of that Bill. The purpose of this amendment is to bring the Scottish Bill into line with the English Bill, or, if that is not acceptable, to discover why not. I beg to move.

Lord Cameron of Lochbroom

I am happy to accept this amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 16 not moved.]

Clause 51, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported in respect of Clauses 48 to 51 with an amendment; Report received.

Then, Standing Order No. 44 having been dispensed with (pursuant to Resolution of 19th February), Bill read a third time; an amendment (privilege) made.

Lord Glenarthur

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.

In doing so, I should like to thank noble Lords opposite for supporting the major new drug trafficking provisions. It is perhaps not surprising, given the nature of this particularly pernicious and contemptible crime, that an unusual degree of harmony has existed during consideration of these provisions. I think it important that the force of our collective intent to deal harshly with people who make money out of the misery of drug addicts has been demonstrated unequivocally.

I am grateful for what has been done by the noble Lord opposite and to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, concerning the other provisions of the Bill. If the criminal law is to be respected and supported by the whole community, it needs to build on a well-developed consensus; that is, in your Lordships' House and in another place as well as in society at large. I am confident that the Bill meets this test of acceptability.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Glenarthur.)

Lord Morton of Shuna

My Lords, on behalf of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, I apologise for the fact that he has had to leave the House. The Bill makes remarkable changes to the law relating to drug trafficking. As I endeavoured to explain a week or so ago, and earlier, I am not happy with the drug trafficking side of the Bill because I fear that it may not work and because it is not sufficiently severe in dealing with drug trafficking. Something needed to be done, but it is a pity that the Government did not choose to take what I should have thought was a simple and more severe way of dealing with such people.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.