There are three areas of specific interest to the Law Society covered in the Queen’s speech: the British Bill of Rights, the Europe Union Referendum Bill and the Investigatory Powers Bill.
Law Society president Andrew Caplen said: “British people believe in fundamental principles such as freedom of speech, the right to life and the right to a fair trial. This makes the legal system in England and Wales respected throughout the world. We have always supported the retention of the Human Rights Act. We look forward to working with the government to ensure that these fundamental principles are protected as it consults on any proposals for change.
“Now that a referendum on Europe is firmly on the government’s agenda, it is important for the profession to look at the implications for the legal sector of any decision by the UK to remain in or withdraw from the EU. We will be publishing a report on the implications for the legal sector this summer as an initial contribution to the national debate. We will be seeking the views of our members about the implications for them and their clients as that debate develops.
“Communication between a lawyer and their client should be given explicit protection. We are concerned that the Investigatory Powers Bill could include measures that would allow surveillance of data communications. We expressed a number of serious reservations about the original draft Communications Data Bill in 2012. The last government failed to make a convincing case for the original Bill which was overly intrusive and lacked sufficient safeguards.”