HL Deb 15 March 2004 vol 659 c21WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the publication under the 30 year rule of the advice given by the Attorney-General about the compatibility of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill 1968 with international law was in accordance with constitutional convention. [HL1689]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin)

Yes. The longstanding convention, observed by successive governments, that the fact and substance of the law officers' advice is not disclosed outside government does not automatically prevent the transfer of their advice to the national archives after 30 years. The Attorney-General's advice on the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill 1968 was released at the national archives after 30 years in 1999 as part of Cabinet Office document CAB 129/135. However, the law officers' advice may remain closed, as may any other public record, if actual damage would be caused by release.

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