Chairman of the Bar takes aim at Snooper's Charter

Helen Cahill
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The bill is unsettling legal professionals (Source: Getty)

The chairman of the Bar has taken aim at the government's new surveillance legislation, which has also been branded the Snooper's Charter.

In a lecture this evening, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC will say that the Investigatory Powers Bill threatens to compromise the privacy of communications between legal advisers and their clients, also known as legal professional privilege.

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Lawyers have been working to protect their clients from the Investigatory Powers Bill. The Law Society has been urging to House of Lords to make sure the bill contains provisions that will protect communications that should be confidential. In particular, the House of Lords has been asked to consider amendments from Lord Pannick QC.

Doerries said: “There are many risks associated with government’s ability to access private information online and the Bar Council, together with others, has recently been very active in trying to secure amendments to the Investigatory Powers Bill to ensure adequate protection for legal professional privilege.

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“Sadly what was passed in the end fell significantly short of what we would consider sufficient to protect this important and fundamental right, underpinning the rule of law.”

The Home Office has said previously that it wants the bill to "command the respect of the legal profession" but that it does not want to "unduly fetter the important work of law enforcement".

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