The Justice and Security Green Paper
HL 286 & HC 1777, Twenty-fourth Report of Session 2010-12 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes and Written Evidence
- House of Lords & House of Commons - Joint Committee on Human Rights
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'The Justice and Security Green Paper (HL 286 & HC 1777)' calls for statutory clarification of law on the disclosure of national security-sensitive material, but finds no case for more extensive change.
The Government has failed to make the case for extending "closed material procedures" to all civil proceedings and inquests; as the fairness concern on which it relies to justify the proposal has not been demontrated to be a real and practical problem.
The Committee believes that closed material procedures are inherently unfair and that the proposals in the Green Paper are a radical departure from longstanding traditions of open justice and fairness.
The report also rejects the proposal to replace the current law governing disclosure of sensitive material - the law of Public Interest Immunity (PII) - with closed material procedures. The rule of law requires that decisions regarding the disclosure of material in legal proceedings should be taken by judges not ministers, and the current legal framework of PII has not been shown to be inadequate. However, there is a case for the legal framework to be made clearer in relation to nationally security-sensitive material. The Committee proposes how this could be done by legislation and changes to the Coroners Rules and guidance.
The Committee regrets that the Green Paper overlooks the very considerable impact of its proposals on the freedom and ability of the media to report on matters of public interest and concern.
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