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Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019

Section 53 - Information, documents, evidence and facilities

211.Section 53 confers wide powers on the Ombudsman to require the production of information or documents in relation to an investigation (section 53(2) and (3)) and to require certain persons to provide any facilities that the Ombudsman may reasonably require (section 53(4)). The latter power may be exercised, for example, to require the provision of certain computer hardware or software to enable the Ombudsman to view documents or information that have been provided.

212.The Ombudsman has the same powers as the High Court in relation to the taking of evidence from witnesses and production of documents (section 53(3)).

213.Section 53(5) provides protection for those from whom the Ombudsman may require evidence or the production of information or documents. Such a person cannot be required by the Ombudsman to give any evidence or produce any documents which that person could not be compelled to give or produce before the High Court.

214.Section 53(6) disapplies any privilege which the Crown would otherwise be able to claim as a basis for withholding evidence or documents.

215.The effect of section 53(7) is that, in relation to the Ombudsman’s power to require evidence or the production of information or documents, the Crown cannot rely on either its special privileges or immunities to defeat the Ombudsman’s right of access to such information under section 53(5).

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