Writing on Conservative Home today I argue against the broad-brush proposals within the Justice & Security Green Paper could stifle inquests and cover up malpractice.
“The fundamental issue is who decides what is, and is not, evidence for the court to consider. It cannot be right that a politician makes that decision. We absolutely need to protect our national security and ensure the intelligence services can do their jobs. The way to achieve that is not for government to be above the law.”
This afternoon Justice Secretary Ken Clarke will appear before the Joint Committee on Human Rights this afternoon, and Big Brother Watch has five questions for the Justice Secretary that we believe need answering before he rides roughshod over Magna Carta and 800 years of legal precedent.
- Why, given it is our closest ally and source of a great deal of our intelligence material, does the Green Paper not include a direct comparison with the US system for dealing with sensitive evidence?
- As they stand, the proposals would allow Ministers the power to extend secret proceedings to any civil case. Why are the proposals not limited to cases involving National Security?
- Why has the burden been placed on the individual to prove that evidence should be heard in open court, rather than on the government to prove it should be heard in secret?
- The British legal system relies on the use of precedents based on specific facts. How can this process function if judgements and the facts they are based upon are only available to the Government?
- The common law process revolves around the finding of facts on a rational basis in an open court and which are open to challenge. How can this be preserved if key evidence is not open to challenge?
We look forward to hearing his evidence later today.