§ Mr. Maclennan
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet received the report of the Interdepartmental Committee on the law of Contempt as it affects Tribunals of Inquiry; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Callaghan
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have now received the Report of the Committee and the House will be grateful to the Chairman, Lord Justice Salmon, and the members of the Committee for the work they have done on this review. The Report will be published this afternoon. The Committee conclude that the law of contempt applies to tribunals and recommend that it should continue to do so, but only from the point at which a tribunal is appointed; and, apart from attacks on the integrity of a member of the tribunal and conduct in the face of the tribunal, only in respect of anything said or done which is intended or obviously likely to interfere with the evidence of a potential witness.
The Government's immediate view is that in principle the Committee's recommendations represent an acceptable limit to the operation of the law of contempt. My right hon. Friend and I shall consider the matter in greater detail, in particular whether legislation is appropriate, and a further statement will be made.