Britain: Secret Court Hearings23/08/2012 12:26
The government’s plan to establish a new generation of secret courts has sparked fresh controversy after it emerged that the fact that a hearing is to be held behind closed doors may itself be kept secret.
During House of Lords debates, it was disclosed that a government application for a court to sit in secret – with the public, the media and even the claimant and their lawyers being excluded – could itself remain completely secret under the proposals.
The admission drew immediate comparisons with so-called superinjunctions, which not only prevent the media from publishing information said to be confidential or private, but also ban publication of the fact that the injunction exists.
The secrecy proposals, contained in the government’s justice and security bill, allow government ministers to apply for special courtroom measures known as closed material procedure (CMP) whenever the government or its intelligence agencies are being sued in the UK courts.