MI6 intends to use the 1994 Intelligence Services Act to deny all application of UK law to extraordinary rendition.
The case in question revolves around the forcible extradition of several Libyan dissidents back to Gaddafi's Libya and entirely predictable torture, including a pregnant woman. s.7 of the Act states that any intelligence agency action authorised on foreign soil by a Secretary of State is automatically exempt from legal action in any UK court. This could be said to conflict in some ways with the Human Rights Act 1998 and international law, especially since the HRA may be held to have implicitly repealed s.7 of the 1994 Act.
Intelligence Services Act 1994 s.7:
"(1)If, apart from this section, a person would be liable in the United Kingdom for any act done outside the British Islands, he shall not be so liable if the act is one which is authorised to be done by virtue of an authorisation given by the Secretary of State under this section.
(2)In subsection (1) above “liable in the United Kingdom ” means liable under the criminal or civil law of any part of the United Kingdom."
Subsection 3 is too long to quote in full here, but contains important restrictions on when permission and the resultant exemptions can be given, but provides for the following limit:
"(a)that any acts which may be done in reliance on the authorisation or, as the case may be, the operation in the course of which the acts may be done will be necessary for the proper discharge of a function of the Intelligence Service"
Human Rights Act 1998:
-S. 6(1-2) makes it unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with convention rights:
"(1)It is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right.
(2)Subsection (1) does not apply to an act if—
(a)as the result of one or more provisions of primary legislation, the authority could not have acted differently; or
(b)in the case of one or more provisions of, or made under, primary legislation which cannot be read or given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights, the authority was acting so as to give effect to or enforce those provisions."- S. 7(1) allows a person who claims that a public authority has acted unlawfully, to bring proceedings against the authority.
"(1)A person who claims that a public authority has acted (or proposes to act) in a way which is made unlawful by section 6(1) may— (a)bring proceedings against the authority under this Act in the appropriate court or tribunal, or (b)rely on the Convention right or rights concerned in any legal proceedings,but only if he is (or would be) a victim of the unlawful act."