Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill returns to the Lords

National Crime Agency officers.
12 February 2019

The Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill returned to the House of Lords on Monday 11 February for consideration of Commons amendments in 'ping pong'.

Members discussed the insertion of a new clause into the bill concerning the designation of international agreements for purposes of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

The new clause will cover issues regarding the interception of communications in cases where an individual accused of a criminal offence may be sentenced to death under law of the country or territory concerned.

Following a debate there was a division (vote) on a proposed change to the new clause.

188 members of the Lords voted in favour of the change to the amendment and 207 voted against, and so the change was not made.

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill it now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent when it will become an Act of Parliament (law).

Royal Assent took place on 12 February.

Lords third reading: Tuesday 20 November

Members discussed a single change to the bill regarding the duty of government minister to provide a copy of a treaty to Parliament under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

The amendment, which was withdrawn following a debate in the Lords, would have ensured such treaties are ratified before new powers in the bill could be used.

Following the completion of third reading, the bill will now pass to the House of Commons for its consideration.

Lords report stage: Monday 22 October

Members discussed regulations designating international agreements and electronic data for the purposes of journalism.

There were also three divisions (votes) on proposed changes (amendments) to the bill.

Members considered a change to prevent the Secretary of State from making regulations which would designate an international co-operation agreement, unless the participating states have given assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed in any case where relevant electronic data has been obtained under the proposed legislation.

108 members were in favour of this amendment, with 185 against, and so the change was not made.

The next vote was on alternative to the above amendment and would again prevent the Secretary of State from making regulations which would designate an international co-operation agreement with a country or territory where the possible sentence for a person found guilty of an offence is death.

This amendment would apply in all cases except where the country or territory has provided firm assurances that any data obtained under the legislation would not lead to the imposition of the death penalty.

208 members voted for this change and 185 voted against, and so the change was made.

The final vote was on the insertion of a new provision into the bill which would define ‘journalistic data’ as electronic data created or acquired for the purposes of journalism and stored by or on behalf a person for that purpose.

Under the provision, such data would be considered confidential if the information:

  •  is held in confidence by a person in their capacity as journalist
  • is communications data of the journalist themselves
  • is held subject to a restriction on disclosure, or an obligation of secrecy

200 members were in favour with 205 against, so this change was not made.

Lords committee stage day two: Monday 10 September

Members discussed topics including actions available to officers to enforce an order, the use of electronic data as evidence and the potential conflict between the bill and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Lords committee stage day one: Wednesday 5 September

Members discussed subjects including appointment of independent advisers, international co-operation arrangements and safeguards for incoming production orders.

Lords second reading: Wednesday 11 July

Members discussed public interest requirements for investigations, bilateral agreements with foreign governments and arrangements after the UK leaves the EU.

Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill summary

The bill aims to allow law enforcement agencies to apply for a UK court order to get stored electronic data directly from a company or person based outside the UK.

Further information

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