HC Deb 27 November 1995 vol 267 c491W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 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. [1396]

Mr. Boswell

A claim to public interest immunity relating to departmental documents or information is normally made by the appropriate Minister. In the past five years only one such certificate has been issued—in 1993. Its purpose was to make a claim for public interest immunity for certain categories of confidential documents held by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the case of Littlewood v. Department of Health and MAFF, so as to enable the High Court to decide whether the interests of justice required them to be disclosed in the case.