||<p>It is a longstanding constitutional convention, set out in the Cabinet Manual and
the Ministerial Code, that the fact that the Law Officers have advised or have not
advised, and the content of their advice, must not be disclosed without their authority.
The convention exists for fundamental constitutional reasons and to promote the public
interest in the Rule of Law. Whether the Law Officers have advised and the content
of that advice is part of the collective Cabinet decision-making process. The convention
reflects the public interest in collective Cabinet responsibility. It also reflects
the fact that Law Officers’ advice is confidential legal advice and, as with all professional
legal advice, it is subject to legal professional privilege. In addition, it acknowledges
the feature of Law Officers’ advice which sets it apart from other legal advice, namely
that it is sought in relation to issues of particular complexity, sensitivity and
constitutional importance. It is a matter of constitutional importance that the provision
of advice in these circumstances should be protected in the public interest.</p><p>
</p><p>A decision to disclose would require an exceptional countervailing public interest.
No such case has arisen since May 2015.</p><p> </p>