Investigatory Powers.

Jan Johnson made this Freedom of Information request to Attorney General's Office

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Attorney General's Office.

Dear Attorney General’s Office,

BACKGROUND TO THIS FOIA REQUEST:

Your response to my previous FOIA request stated:

"The Attorney General does not have investigatory powers".

But the Attorney General standard letter titled:

"Letter to complainant -confirming investigation"

1. I refer to your letter of [date] addressed to [HM Attorney General/ Treasury Solicitor].
2. I act on behalf of HM Attorney General in matters relating to vexatious litigants. I can
confirm that I have been instructed to investigate [NAME] and as such I Will be
contacting the courts/tribunals for information, [as well as those [individuals][law
firms][businesses] that you have mentioned as having dealings with [NAME]].
3. No decision has been taken at this stage as to whether or not it would be appropriate
to make an application for an order against [NAME] and the mere fact that this office
is conducting an investigation does not affect any ongoing cases involving [NAME].
4. Until further notice, please refrain from mentioning that an investigation is
underway, so that the Investigation itself, and any on-going litigation involving
[NAME] is not prejudiced or perceived to be prejudiced in any way. I will keep you
informed as to any decision that is made as a result of my investigation.

FOIA QUESTION

If the Attorney General does not have investigatory powers, what legal authority permits the Attorney General to investigate?

Yours faithfully,

Jan Johnson

AGO Correspondence, Attorney General's Office

Thank you for contacting the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

 

Please note the Attorney General provides legal advice to the government
and is unable to give legal advice, assistance or support to individuals.
The Attorney General does not have investigatory powers.

 

We strive to answer all correspondence that falls within the remit of the
AGO within 20 days. However, we are unable to reply to matters that do not
fall within the responsibility of the department.

 

If your correspondence is in relation to:

 

·       Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) matters or complaints – please
contact the CPS: [1]http://www.cps.gov.uk/ or refer to the CPS complaints
procedure: [2]http://www.cps.gov.uk/contact/feedback_a...

·       Courts or judges – please contact the Ministry of Justice:
[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...  

·       Police – please contact the Home Office:
 [4]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

 

You may wish to redirect your correspondence to another department that
has responsibility for the issue you have raised.

 

If your email is regarding the case of David de Freitas, please note that
the Attorney General is giving consideration to the requests made by Mr De
Freitas, and will make a decision in due course.

More information about the role of the AGO can be found at our website:
[5]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati....  

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.cps.gov.uk/
2. http://www.cps.gov.uk/contact/feedback_a...
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
4. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

AGO Correspondence, Attorney General's Office

Dear Jan Johnson,

Thank you for your email of 19 January 2019, in which you made a request to our office regarding investigatory powers.

We are unable to provide you with a formal response to your request, as it does not constitute a request for recorded information under S1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. At this stage, however, I can confirm that the Attorney General does not have statutory investigatory powers in relation to allegations of contempt of court or vexatious litigation. Under S16(1) of the Act we ask that you clarify which recorded information you are requesting in order for us to be able to treat your request as a valid request under the Act.

Yours Sincerely,

FOI Officer
E: [Attorney General’s Office request email]
T: 020 7271 2492
5-8 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JS

@attorneygeneral | gov.uk/ago

Making law and politics work together at the heart of the UK constitution

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Dear AGO Correspondence,

The Attorney General standard letter states that the Attorney General will investigate.

But the Attorney General assures the public that they have no investigative powers.

Please explain this discrepancy.

Alternatively, please provide totals for the last five years of all S:33 & S:42 applications/claims that have been investigated by the Attorney General.

Yours sincerely,

Jan Johnson

AGO Correspondence, Attorney General's Office

Dear Jan Johnson,

Thank you for your clarification.

I feel it would be helpful for me to inform you that the 'standard letter' to which you refer is not one with which we are familiar. If it is indeed an official 'standard' response of some kind it appears to be one used by the Government Legal Department, who may be using the term 'investigate' in this context to mean something different to what is meant we state that the Attorney General does not have statutory investigatory powers. To clarify, while the Attorney General's Office (AGO) can look at evidence provided to us, make determinations and take certain action in relation to certain types of case, the AGO does not have any statutory evidence gathering powers.

In light of the clarification I have provided you with, and in an attempt to interpret your request as a valid request for recorded information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, would you be content being provided with the number of S:33 & S:42 referrals that we have received, along with the number of S:33 & S:42 applications we have made to the High Court?

Yours Sincerely,

Correspondence Officer
E: [Attorney General’s Office request email]
T: 020 7271 2492
5-8 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JS

@attorneygeneral | gov.uk/ago

Making law and politics work together at the heart of the UK constitution

show quoted sections

Dear AGO Correspondence,

I do not accept your explanation, for the reasons stated herein.

I will be investigating this issue elsewhere for the time being.

Your response on the other FOIA questions would be appreciated regardless.

INVESTIGATORY POWERS

All actions, and communications, by a parties solicitor are as a result of the parties instructions.
At all times the solicitor, GLS, is acting on the instructions of the Attorney General.
This being the case, GLS appear to be assuming that they have investigatory powers by virtue of their instructions from the Attorney General.

I believe that the Attorney General Office needs to investigate this issue further internally, perhaps with the assistance of GLS, and respond to my FOIA question regarding the Attorney General having, or not having, investigatory powers.

Yours sincerely,

Jan Johnson

Dear Attorney General’s Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Attorney General’s Office's handling of my FOI request 'Investigatory Powers.'.

Please explain how and why the AG's instructed solicitor, GLS, has assumed "Investigatory Powers" as defined by the "Investigatory Powers Act 2016".

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Jan Johnson

AGO Correspondence, Attorney General's Office

Dear Jan Johnson,

Your internal review request will be taken forward as appropriate.

A response will be provided in due course.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Officer
E: [Attorney General’s Office request email]
T: 020 7271 2492
5-8 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JS

@attorneygeneral | gov.uk/ago

Making law and politics work together at the heart of the UK constitution

show quoted sections

AGO Correspondence, Attorney General's Office

1 Attachment

Dear Jan Johnson,

Please see the attached AGO response to the internal review request you made on 9 February 2019.

Yours Sincerely,

FOI Officer
E: [Attorney General’s Office request email]
T: 020 7271 2492
5-8 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JS

@attorneygeneral | gov.uk/ago

Making law and politics work together at the heart of the UK constitution

show quoted sections