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Official Secrets Act 1989

The Official Secrets Act 1989 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that repeals and replaces section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, thereby removing the public interest defence created by that section. Lord Bingham said that the white paper "Reform of Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911" was the immediate precursor of this Act and that its recommendations bear directly on the interpretation of this Act; the offences under sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 can be committed only by persons who are or have been, the offence under section 8 can be committed only by persons who are, Crown servants or government contractors. The offences under the Act, that can be committed only by persons who, as the case may be, are or have been Crown servants, government contractors, or members of the security and intelligence services, can be committed only where the information, document or other article in question is or has been in the possession of the person in question by virtue of their position as such.

The offences under sections 5, 5, 6, 8, 8 and 8 can be committed by any person. Sections 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 provide that the disclosures to which they apply are not an offence unless they are "damaging". Section 4 is similar. Offences under any provision of the Act, other than sections 8 or 8 or 8, committed by any person in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, or in any colony, or committed by British citizens or Crown servants in any place, are cognisable as offences under the law of the United Kingdom. In England and Wales, offences under any provision of this Act other than sections 8 or 8 or 8 were classified as arrestable offences by virtue of sections 24 and of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, by virtue of sections 24 and of, paragraph 18 of Schedule 1A to, that Act; the offences under sections 8, are triable only summarily. Sections 7, 8, 12 and 13 confer powers on the Secretary of State to "prescribe" bodies and persons for certain purposes; these powers have been exercised by the following instruments: The Official Secrets Act 1989 Order 1990 The Official Secrets Act 1989 Order 1993 The Official Secrets Act 1989 Order 2003 The Official Secrets Act 1989 Order 2007 The Intelligence and Security Committee annual report for 2005–2006 on UK intelligence services states: Official Secrets Act 113.

The Home Office has bid for a legislative slot in the next session to amend the Official Secrets Act 1989. The Home Office has informed the Committee that, in its view, the proposed Bill should remove the common law defence of duress of circumstance in order to address unauthorised disclosure by members, or former members, of the intelligence and security Agencies; the Bill should put an element of the associated "authorisation to disclose" procedure onto a statutory footing and increase penalties. This proposal has yet to receive policy clearance across Whitehall. Section 1 creates an offence of disclosing information, documents or other articles relating to security or intelligence, it can be committed by any person, or has been a member of the security and intelligence services, or, or has been a person notified that he is subject to the provisions of section 1. Cases under this section: R v. Shayler UKHL 11, All ER 477 R v. Shayler EWCA Crim 1977, WLR 2206 Section 2 creates an offence of disclosing information, documents or other articles relating to defence.

This section applies only to Crown servants and government contractors. Section 3 creates an offence of disclosing information, documents or other articles relating to international relations; this includes confidential information, documents or other article from a State other than the United Kingdom or an international organisation. This section applies only to crown servants and government contractors; this section relates to disclosure of information which would assist a criminal or the commission of a crime. This section applies only to crown servants and government contractors; this section relates to further disclosure of information, documents or other articles protected from disclosure by the preceding sections of the Act. It allows, for example, the prosecution of newspapers or journalists who publish secret information leaked to them by a crown servant in contravention of section 3; this section applies to everyone. Section 6 creates an offence of making a "damaging disclosure" which "relates to security or intelligence, defence or international relations" where that information was provided in confidence "by or on behalf of the United Kingdom to another State or to an international organisation" where that person obtained it without that State or organization's authorization, where no other offence under the earlier sections of this Act applies.

Lawful authority and prior authorized disclosure are defences against this offence. Sections 7 to provide that a disclosure is made with lawful authority if, only if, the conditions specified therein are satisfied. Section 7 provides a defence. Sections 7 and define the expressions "official authorisation" and "official restriction"; this section makes it a crime for a crown servant or government contractor to retain information beyond their official need for it, obligates them to properly protect secret information from accidental disclosure. Secti

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