Open justice is a centuries-old principle of British law. The right to a fair trial is a feature of the common law and is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. These values of fairness and transparency are now under threat in the Justice and Security Bill, which will introduce closed courts and secret evidence for any case which the government says relates to ‘national security’. Such restrictions threaten the very fabric of the civil legal system.
With increasing allegations of British government collusion in torture abroad over the past decade, the government has gone to great lengths to withhold evidence relating to such claims. Under the guise of growing ‘national security’ concerns in an increasingly global context, the government has also introduced a number of measures to protect the interests of the executive and its agencies.
Applied at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission since 1997, closed courts have failed to ensure fairness and proportionality in proceedings, evidenced by the sizeable related case law.
So. why extend ‘secret evidence’? Who stands to gain? If this Bill is enacted, where will it leave the legal system and the judiciary?
CAMPACC, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
and Coalition Against Secret Evidence (CASE)
Justice and Security Bill: Covering up State Crimes
Date: Wednesday 21 November 6.30-8.30pm
at Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A
Chaired by Louise Christian, civil liberties and human rights lawyer; Vice-President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Speakers: Dinah Rose QC, Blackstone Chambers, who specialises in human rights and public law
Richard Norton-Taylor, journalist and writer on defence and security, The Guardian
Clare Algar, Executive Director, Reprieve
Saghir Hussain, lawyer; Director of CagePrisoners
For background information: The Justice and Security Bill: An Affront to Open Justice by Aisha Maniar
All Welcome. For further information contact
Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Tel. 020 7586 5892