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UK.gov to reject judicial warrants for surveillance

Posted by malcolm on Friday, October 30th, 2015 at 15:24

The forthcoming Investigatory Powers bill will give ministers, not judges, the power to authorise surveillance warrants, according to The Sun.

The Home Secretary has reportedly consulted the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, who rejected David Anderson QC’s recommendation that “judicial commissioners” should be put in charge of authorising surveillance warrants.

A government minister told The Sun:

The Attorney General’s advice was very clear. It would be totally irresponsible of government to allow the legal system to dictate to us on matters as important as terrorism. Not only would they tie things in knots very quickly, but they are not elected and answerable to no-body. Who is held to account by the public if a bomb gets through because they refused to sign off a warrant?

Tory backbencher David Davis called the move “a mistake”.

We will remain the only one of all the five eye ally countries – the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – who won’t have judges’ sign off. Not only is it more appropriate, it is also a far better use of the Home Secretary’s time. If she is having to sign off 10 warrants a day, she can’t possibly do it with the proper scrutiny needed.

The Investigatory Powers Bill is expected to be published in November.

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