The Justice and Security Bill continues committee stage, line by line scrutiny of the bill, in the House of Lords today (Wednesday 11 July).
Members of the Lords will begin by examining the reports created by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). The ISC currently only present reports to the prime minister, the bill proposes that the committee makes an annual report to Parliament. They are then expected to discuss restrictions on disclosure of sensitive material in court proceedings.
Proposed amendments by members includes a new clause to address statutory public interest immunity (PII) for national security sensitive material. Members have also tabled amendments to Clause Six covering the restrictions on the disclosure of sensitive material and the use of PII.
About the Justice and Security bill
The first reading of the Justice and Security Bill took place in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. The bill proposes:
- Strengthened oversight by Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Headquarters and other activities relating to intelligence or security matters.
- To expand the statutory remit of the ISC and allow Parliament to have a more substantial role in ISC appointments.
- For closed material procedure in relation to certain civil proceedings in the High Court, the Court of Session or the Court of Appeal. Also to extend closed material procedure for cases containing sensitive information and connected purposes.
Background information on the bill
What is committee stage?
Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the bill takes place during committee stage. Any member of the Lords can take part.
It usually starts no fewer than two weeks after the second reading and can last for one to eight days or more.
Members can put forward their suggested amendments (changes) to the bill. These amendments are published in a marshalled list. In the marshalled list the amendments on related subjects are grouped together.
During committee stage everything in the bill has to be agreed to. All proposed amendments can be discussed and there is no time limit, or guillotine, on discussion of amendments. Members can vote on the amendments if no clear agreement on an amendment is made.
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