6.43Regardless of whether an immunity or indemnity approach is preferred for Crown employees, there may be arguments to distinguish or align the position for ministers. If an indemnity approach is favoured for Crown employees, for instance because it is considered important to be able to bring suits directly against the individual Crown employee concerned, the same may well be desired for ministers.
6.44Whichever approach is preferred, from one point of view it would be clear and logical to make provision for ministers as well as Crown employees in the same statutory provision, rather than leaving part of the process to the Cabinet Manual. In the case of an indemnity, the coverage would essentially be the same as under the Cabinet Manual, since those guidelines only provide for indemnification when a minister is acting in the course of his or her duties. It may be useful to have indemnification of ministers included in the proposed statutory indemnity scheme. However, it could instead be said that ministers, as political actors, should be in a different position to Crown employees and should not be protected by an automatic indemnity; it may be appropriate for a minister to justify why they ought to be indemnified in a particular case, where a similar obligation should not be put on a Crown employee.
Q6 Do you agree that the Crown proceedings legislation should clarify that a department must meet judgments for compensation from its own appropriation? Do you foresee any problems with this approach?
Q7 Do you think that the government should be required to disclose the amount of money spent on settlements made in contemplation of litigation?
Q8 Do you prefer the option of an immunity or an indemnity from legal suit for Crown employees?
Q9 Should ministers be in the same position as Crown employees with regard to an immunity or indemnity from legal suit?