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The Daily Mail’s New Article on Secret Courts [& A Few Good Selections of ‘Muslims In The Headlines’]

Clarke’s secret courts belong in a repressive regime and undemocratic society warn lawyers

  • Justice and Security Bill would allow civil cases involving national security to be conducted behind closed doors
  • Law Society warned it would badly damage Britain’s reputation for open and fair justice
  • Leading lawyer says current proposals are ‘unfair, unnecessary and unbalanced’

By James Chapman

PUBLISHED: 00:19, 20 November 2012 | UPDATED: 08:08, 20 November 2012
Kenneth Clarke yesterday admitted that Government plans for secret courts may be defeated as one of the country’s leading legal bodies said they were more suited to ‘repressive regimes and undemocratic societies’.

As the House of Lords began to debate the Justice and Security Bill – which would allow civil cases involving national security to be conducted behind closed doors – Mr Clarke made a last-ditch attempt to rally support for the legislation.

But he played down the significance of Parliamentary defeats, suggesting the Government may have to water down its plans still further to get them into law.

Mounting criticism: Kenneth Clarke is trying to drum up support for his unpopular and controversial Justice and Security BillMounting criticism: Kenneth Clarke is trying to drum up support for his unpopular and controversial Justice and Security Bill

In a significant blow to the Bill, the Law Society yesterday warned it would badly damage Britain’s reputation for open and fair justice.

The Daily Mail has led criticism of Government plans to allow so-called ‘closed material procedures’, in which cases are conducted entirely in private, in any civil hearing.

 

Defendants or claimants will not be allowed to be present, know or challenge the case against them and must be represented by a security-cleared special advocate, rather than their own lawyer.

Currently, such procedures are used in tiny numbers of immigration and deportation hearings, but the Government wants to extend them across the civil courts in cases deemed to involve national security.

Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, president of the Law Society, the professional body for solicitors, said: ‘Secret trials and non-disclosure of evidence are potential characteristics of repressive regimes and undemocratic societies.

Men Cover UP Over Police Spies

‘Whilst the Government rightly takes a strong stance in respect of the importance of the rule of law globally, we fear that if passed, this Bill will adversely affect the UK’s international reputation for fair justice.

‘It is our belief that closed material procedures depart from an essential principle of natural justice which is that all parties are entitled to see and challenge all of the evidence relied upon before the court, and to combat that evidence by calling evidence of their own.

Lead role: Former Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke is not minister without portfolio but remains in charge of Justice and Security BillLead role: Former Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke is not minister without portfolio but remains in charge of Justice and Security Bill

‘In addition, CMPs also undermine the principle that public justice should be dispensed in public and will weaken fair trial guarantees.

‘It will be impossible for lawyers to advise their clients in their best interests if they are not privy to the information being used against them in court and are able to discuss this with those clients,’ she said.

‘We believe this breaches a fundamental right of defendants in a just society.’

Crossbench peer Lord Pannick, a leading lawyer, insisted that the current proposals were ‘unfair, unnecessary and unbalanced’.

He said judges were already ‘very experienced’ in ensuring that justice and security are satisfied, taking steps such as ordering security witnesses to give evidence from behind a screen, or editing documents to conceal the names of informants, for example.

He also insisted it must be left to the judge to decide whether a secret hearing would be necessary.

Lord Pannick said the existing law of public interest immunity already ensured any evidence with national security implications was concealed from open court.

Former Justice Secretary Mr Clarke, who is now a minister without portfolio but remains in charge of the legislation, insisted it was necessary because terror suspects are launching a ‘steady stream’ of compensation claims against the security services.

He said the law ‘simply cannot deal with what we’ve suddenly started acquiring – these cases where people bring claims against MI5, MI6, usually saying they’re complicit in some ill treatment they’ve suffered … and the only evidence that can be used to defend it is evidence from agents who are revealing their sources, or saying what they know about organisations.

‘And everybody agrees that can’t possibly be given in open.’

But suggesting the Government believes it may lose key votes in the Lords tomorrow, forcing them to amend the legislation, Mr Clarke added: ‘Any defeat is actually a debate between lawyers.’

This guy is one of the blood sucking EU Dictatorship’s greatest supporters, and has a great influence on Cameron. He gets away with a lot as he appears to be genial and bumbling, yet he is nonsensical and devious in the statements he comes out with, and should have been put out to grass years ago. What on earth is Cameron thinking of to allow him to hang around and meddle like this.

TW , London, 20/11/2012 15:01

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The so called ‘supeme’ court is housed not in the house of Lords but a building that has an ‘historical’ facade. Thus giving the apearence nothing has changed. The REALITY however is just around the corner .Where you will find the so called “ministry of justice” The battlements safeguards and 2inch thick metal gates speaks more of its fear and the nature of what realy is being built and which is replacing the constitution is self evident to any who have eyes to see it.

gbzone , London, United Kingdom, 20/11/2012 13:25

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Why hasn’t this oaf been put out to grass, if he wants secret courts then it is obvious HE must have something to hide, for goodness sake give him his slippers and tell him to remain seated in his own back room.

The Contender , Manchester, United Kingdom, 20/11/2012 12:40

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Kenneth Clark is a Bilderberger and asset of the New World Order who is in Parliament to do their bidding. Secret courts fit their plan for total tyranny perfectly. Google Bilderberg.

pecstasy , harrow, 20/11/2012 12:21

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There really isnt any hope for democracy in this country is there? Bit by bit it is being eroded away. Perhaps there wouldnt be any need for secret courts if the terror suspects didnt have a case to sue the security services in the first place? And how come they are allowed to sue the security services? I dont recall that happening in years gone by. Oh I forgot, an (EU)law was foisted upon us, wasnt it?

Excalibur , London, 20/11/2012 12:06

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I know some people will accept these laws because they feel that they will not be used against them as they are not the wrong color or part of a religion. remember how many councils use anti terror laws to rifle through your bins just looking for opportunities to fine you.

Imran , Luton, United Kingdom, 20/11/2012 11:56

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America has them and since the UK is a lap dog for the USA and does most all that it is told to do, you will soon have them also.

Lee Shu , Leeds, 20/11/2012 11:25

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The Lawyers and indeed The Law Lords should be speaking out about the secret justice procedures that we already have in this country. The should be addressing the injustice being served, in the very secret Family Courts and should be seen to be making an effort to open these courts and to bring them out of the dark ages! There is NO ROOM for secret courts, in this country. Justice can only be served in the light.

Darnthesafetynet , London, United Kingdom, 20/11/2012 11:20

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Clarke’s secret courts belong in a repressive regime and undemocratic society warn lawyers……….So is politicising the Police, limiting the ability to protest, restricting legal aid except for non British residents, the left wing bias forced down your throat by the BBC, the overthrowing of legitimate Governments via the back door and ultimately the restricted press we are about to end up with and you can go on and on and on.

Ken , Plymouth, 20/11/2012 11:17

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It is incredible than in the United Kingdom in the 21st century this affront to freedom and democracy is even being considered. It must been thrown out and if it isn’t the people of this great nation must enforce it’s demise. As for Kenneth Clarke, he is clearly past his sell by date and must go.

Worn Out , Skid Row, United Kingdom, 20/11/2012 11:07

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The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

MUSLIMS IN THE HEADLINES:
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What IS the point of the Lib Dems if they back new law that protects torturers? On eve of Lords’ debate on secret justice Tory MP David Davis calls for common sense
PM’s new fixer in racist rant at Muslims: Foul-mouthed abuse by campaign chief revealed as he lands top Tory post
How Muslim citizens accused of supporting terrorism are not charged but extradited, while far-right supporters of terrorism roam free?
ONE LAW FOR NON-MUSLIMS
Justice and Security Bill: Covering up State Crimes
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Clarke’s secret courts belong in a repressive regime and undemocratic society warn lawyers
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France eyes Middle East influence, image with Syria gamble | Reuters
Inquiry urged into MI5 abuse cover-up
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