HC Deb 27 November 1995 vol 267 c471W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Attorney-General if he will list all those in his Department who have authority to issue public interest immunity certificates; how many such certificates have been issued in each of the last five years; and what were the main reasons for them. [1428]

The Attorney-General

A claim to public interest immunity relating to departmental documents or information is normally made by the appropriate Minister. Any claim relating to my own department would be made by me or, in my absence, the Solicitor-General. I am also responsible for three departments headed by a statutory officer holder: the Director of Public Prosecutions, the director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Treasury Solicitor. They may make a public interest immunity claim relating to their departments, after consultation with me. The following claims have been made inter partes. The director of the Serious Fraud Office made a claim in 1994, by affidavit, to preserve the confidentiality attaching to documents and information relating to the internal decision making process of the SFO.

In addition, I am aware of two certificates used in 1991 and 1992 in proceedings in Northern Ireland. Both were signed by my predecessor and were intended to preserve the confidentiality attaching to exchanges between the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.