Richard Gordon QC has been commissioned by the Constitution Society to co-author a Report on the coercive powers of select committees.
The subject matter of the Report is extremely topical with select committee powers being the subject of intense debate in Parliament and the media. The report sets out the advantages and disadvantages of legislating for formal powers. It suggests that clarification of committee powers is an essential first step. However, it warns that conferring coercive powers on select committees could prove a hostage to fortune by resulting in clashes with the courts in circumstances where committee hearings were claimed to infringe fundamental rights legislation. This could lead to the courts making inroads on Article 9 of the Bill of Rights which protects ‘proceedings in Parliament' from the jurisdiction of the courts.
The Report was published on 13th June and its publication was marked by a private seminar in the House of Commons.
The report is here.