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Government: Law Officers' Advice

Volume 691: debated on Monday 16 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith on 27 March (WA 259), whether it is the law officers or their clients within the Executive who own the advice given by the law officers; and why it is for the law officers rather than the Executive to decide whether to consent to the disclosure of the law officers' advice to the Crown.[HL3076]

Legal advice given by the law officers is subject to legal professional privilege (LPP) like any other legal advice. It is for the client to decide whether to waive LPP. In addition, law officers' advice is subject to the requirement that the fact and content of the advice must not be disclosed outside government without their authority. This requirement is contained in the Ministerial Code, issued by the Prime Minister. It is of long standing and has applied under successive administrations.