Draft Access to Justice law (FOI)
Draft Access to Justice law (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 25 March 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
On 23 February 2019 the Chief Minister approved for lodging ‘au Greffe’ the Draft Access to Justice (Jersey) Law 201- ("the Draft Law").
The Draft Law appends notes from the Law Officers Department for the information of States Members that explain why, in the Law Officers' opinion, the Draft Law is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights ("the European Convention").
The Law Officers' notes only consider the relevance of Article 6 European Convention Rights, being the right to a fair trial.
Did the Chief Minister request or receive advice from the Law Officers on the compatibility of Article 2 of the Draft Law (which imposes an obligation on advocates and solicitors to provide legal aid, or to suffer disciplinary action), with Article 4 of the European Convention which prohibits forced or compulsory labour?
If the Chief Minister did take or receive this advice, why is it not appended to the Draft Law for the information of States Members? If the Chief Minister has not sought or received advice on this issue, does the Chief Minister intend to seek this advice?
The information you have requested is exempt from release under Article 31 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 (the FOI Law).
Article 31 Advice by the Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff or a Law Officer
Information is qualified exempt information if it is or relates to the provision of advice by the Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff or the Attorney General or the Solicitor General.
Article 31 of the FOI Law recognises the longstanding constitutional Convention that government does not reveal whether Law Officers have or have not advised on a particular issue, or the content of any such advice. The underlying purpose of this confidentiality is to protect fully informed decision making by allowing government to seek legal advice in private, without fear of any adverse inferences being drawn from either the content of the advice or the fact that it was sought. It ensures that government is neither discouraged from seeking advice in appropriate cases, nor pressured to seek advice in inappropriate cases. The request for information about whether or not advice was sought, or will be sought falls within the Article 31 exemption.