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New laws needed for acting AG

Moves will be made at a special sitting of the House of Keys next week, to pave the way for a newly-appointed acting attorney general to become a member of Tywnwald. 

The Keys will convene next Tuesday morning, immediately before January's sitting of Tynwald.

The Law Officers Bill, the only item on the Keys Order Paper, will be moved by Chief Minister Allan Bell.

He'll seek to suspend standing orders so the bill can be fast-tracked through all its stages at a single sitting.

The Law Officers Bill has been drafted to grant an Acting Attorney General the same powers as a full AG

That is, to sit as a member of Tynwald and give expert opinion on legal matters with the protection of parliamentary privilege, which means he or she can't be sued for anything said in the court.

Achieving that status requires legislation and next Tuesday Mr Bell as Ramsey MHK will present the Law Officers Bill for its first reading. He'll then attempt to steer it through its second reading, clauses and third reading stages.

If passed by Keys the Bill will be sent on to the Legislative Council on Tuesday afternoon and given its first reading there.

LegCo may then be asked to suspend its standing orders to allow subsequent statges of the bill to be taken.

The search for an acting attorney general began last November when the post holder Stephen Harding was suspended. He's currently facing prosecution on six criminal charges.

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