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A question of privilege

Kevin Poulter considers the publication of a new ‘Snooper’s Charter’ and the importance of pro bono week for the legal profession

6 November 2015

You can’t have failed to have missed it, but the long-awaited and much-revised reincarnation of the post-Snowden ‘Snooper’s Charter’, now formally known as the Investigatory Powers Bill, has finally been published.

In another busy week for the home secretary, Teresa May seems to have been working up to the deadline, making last-minute changes and pre-empting criticism ahead of the Bill’s publication.

Aside from the headline-grabbing obligations on internet providers to record and store the browsing histories of all users for a year, and questions around the encryption of data, it is the failure to adequately address professional legal privilege that has caught the attention of the Law Society.

Despite the evidence provided to the review committee over a year ago, protections for privilege seem to have been bypassed by the Bill. In its recent position paper, co-authored with the Bar Council, the Law Society called for explicit s...

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