Policy paper

Intercept as evidence review

Published in December 2014, this government review sets out the latest findings as to whether it would be possible to introduce intercept as evidence.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Intercept as evidence review

Intercept as evidence review (print-ready version)

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The government is committed to securing the maximum number of convictions in terrorism and serious crime cases. The experience of other countries is that the use of evidence gathered through interception may help to achieve that. For that reason, the government has sought to find a practical way to allow the use of intercept obtained under a warrant as evidence in criminal proceedings. This publication represents the culmination of those efforts.

The review concluded that the introduction of intercept as evidence could only be achieved at significant cost, given the legal requirement to translate and transcribe all material in the course of a given investigation in order to make it available at the costs. The review also found that the benefits of introducing intercept as evidence would be uncertain: on some assumptions, the review concluded that the introduction of intercept as evidence may lead to a decrease in successful prosecution.

In view of the outcome of the cost benefit analysis, the review concluded that intercept as evidence should not be introduced at this time. However, the government will keep this position under review.

The review’s work was informed by independent legal and technical experts. It was overseen by a cross-party group of Privy Counsellors, comprising the Right Honourable Sir John Chilcot, the Right Honourable Sir Alan Beith, the Right Honourable Lord Howard of Lympne and the Right Honourable Shaun Woodward, who replaced the Right Honourable Lord Archer of Sandwell.

Published 17 December 2014