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Call for written evidence: National Security Bill

7 June 2022 (updated on 7 June 2022)

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Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the National Security Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament?

If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.

The Public Bill Committee will scrutinise the Bill line by line. The first sitting of the Public Bill Committee is expected to be on Thursday 7 July and the Committee is scheduled to report by Tuesday 13 September. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Tuesday 13 September. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.

Aims of the Bill

The Bill would replace existing counter-espionage laws with a comprehensive framework for countering hostile state activity analogous to the counter-terrorism framework established since 2000. It would also limit the availability of civil legal aid and damages to those connected with terrorist activity.

Measures to counter state threats: Parts 1 and 2 of the Bill

Parts 1 and 2 of the Bill and the associated schedules would create an extensive framework for countering state threats modelled on the counter-terrorism framework established under the Terrorism Act 2000 (“TACT”) and numerous subsequent pieces of counter-terrorism legislation.

The measures include:

  • New offences relating to espionage, sabotage and entering prohibited places;
  • Foreign interference offences;
  • Preparatory conduct relating to state threat activity;
  • Powers to take state threat activity into account as an aggravating factor in sentencing;
  • Powers to arrest and detain without a warrant;
  • Powers to impose civil prevention and investigation measures on individuals suspected of involvement in such activity where prosecution is not possible;
  • The creation of an independent reviewer to report on the use of the powers

Damages and legal aid for those connected with terrorism: Part 3 of the Bill

Part 3 of the Bill concerns individuals involved in terrorist activity. It would introduce measures to:

  • Require courts to consider reducing damages in cases brought against the Crown by individuals connected with terrorist activity;
  • Provide for a regime to freeze and forfeit damages where there is a real risk they may be used for terrorist purposes;
  • Restrict the availability of civil legal aid to individuals with a conviction for a terrorist offence.

Other relevant information

The Government has published overarching documents on the Bill, including a European Convention on Human Rights memorandum (“ECHR memo”) and impact assessments.

The Bill pages also contain links to the explanatory notes, and delegated powers memorandum.

The Bill would extend to the whole of the UK. The explanatory notes provide further detail on devolution matters.

Follow the progress of the National Security Bill

The National Security Bill 2022-23 was introduced in the House of Commons on 11 May 2022. It had its second reading on 6 June 2022.Oral evidence sessions are expected to be held on 7 July 2022.

Guidance on submitting written evidence

Deadline for written evidence submissions

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration and possibly reflect it in an amendment. The order in which amendments are taken in Committee will be available in due course under Selection of Amendments on the Bill documents pages. Once the Committee has dealt with an amendment it will not revisit it.

The first sitting of the Public Bill Committee is expected to be on Thursday 7 July and the Committee is scheduled to report by Tuesday 13 September. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Tuesday 13 September. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.

Your submission should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk

Further guidance on submitting written evidence can be found here.

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