Parliament Should Not Use the Courts to Enforce Summons of to do so Allows Review

In May 2021 the UK House of Commons issued a draft report with a recommendation that would make it an offence to not respond to a parliamentary summons.  The courts would be able to look at the reason for the refusal in determining guilt.  I provided written evidence to the committee which was published July 15 (and can be accessed at the link below).  In my evidence I indicate the following problems.  First this would be an invitation to the courts to intervene in the business of the House contrary to Article 9 of the Bill of Rights, 1689.  This is a major constitutional change for which there is little or no benefit to the House.  A small fine months late my be seen as a mere cost of doing business.  This is far from a deterrence that will cause others to think twice.  It also does not enforce the summons.  It does not get the witness to testify, nor compel the documents or evidence to be be produced.   I suggest that the example of the Agriculture and Agri-foods Committee in Canada be used as a guide.  In that case various abattoirs refused to provide information to a committee.  The House threatened to have daily financial penalties imposed until the summons were complied with.  The government would be required to collect the fines as debts owing to the Crown.  The abattoirs complied before the penalties were imposed.

My written evidence can be found here