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Government: Law Officers' Advice

Volume 690: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith on 5 March (WA 2), whether the advice of the law officers, or the fact that the law officers have been consulted, has been disclosed outside government during the past decade; and, if so, on which occasions.[HL2626]

The law officers have consented to the disclosure of their advice on the following occasions in the past decade. The Government disclosed the advice of the law officers to the other parties in the course of legal proceedings (R v Secretary of State for Transport ex parte Factortame and Others) and it was quoted from in the Divisional Court judgment of 31 July 1997. The Attorney-General's advice of 7 March 2003 on the legality of military action against Iraq was published following a partial leak in 2005. Additionally, on occasion the law officers have consented to more limited disclosure of their advice (eg to counsel acting for the Government). (This does not include those rare occasions when the existence of law officers' advice has been inadvertently referred to without their consent.)