Justice Committee

No. 25 of Session 2007-08

30 April 2008/ For Immediate Release


The Government today publishes as a Command Paper its response to the Justice Committee's report on the role of the Attorney General, which the Committee reported on in July 2007.

Commenting on the Government's response, Committee Chairman Rt Hon Alan Beith MP said: "We are glad that the Government recognises the Committee's legitimate concerns. However, we are disappointed that their proposals fall short of the independence for the Attorney General which the Committee recommended. In our Report, we particularly emphasised the need to depoliticise the prosecution role as one of the central purposes of reform, not least in order to restore public confidence in the office of Attorney General.

We shall shortly be taking evidence on the Government's proposals in the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill and we will focus in particular on the Government' s plans for the relationship between the Attorney General and the Directors in charge of prosecutions. We will be particularly interested in the proposals which would allow the Attorney General on national security grounds either to halt prosecutions or, unlike in any other area of the criminal law, fraud investigations by giving an instruction to the head of the Serious Fraud Office."

The Committee's original report is available on the Reports and Publications page of the Committee's website: www.parliament.uk/justicecom/

The Government's response will be available from the Ministry of Justice - reference CM 7355.

1. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon Alan Beith MP (Chairman), Mr David Heath MP, Daniel Kawczynski MP, Siân James MP, Jessica Morden MP, Julie Morgan MP, Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, Robert Neill MP, Dr Nick Palmer MP, Linda Riordan MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Mr Andrew Turner MP, Mr Andrew Tyrie MP and Dr Alan Whitehead MP
2. The Committee's Report on the Constitutional Role of the Attorney General (Fifth Report, Session 2006-07 (HC 306)) was published on 19 July 2007. An interim Government Response (Second Special Report, Session 2007-08(HC 242)) was published on 7 February 2008.

3. Reports and transcripts of previous evidence sessions can be found on the Committee's website at www.parliament.uk/justice.com.

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