Closed material procedures might lead to more secret justice and less human rights guarantees

According to The Guardian, plans that are likely to be included in the Queen’s Speech in May, risk covering up sensitive information relating to the state’s complicity in torture and secret rendition. These plans, likely to be included in a justice bill in the next session of parliament, propose the introduction of the so-called closed material procedures, in which secret evidence is withheld from the claimant and the press in a closed court. That could mean that the government or its agencies would be allowed to defend serious allegations knowing that no ‘damaging’ information would need to be disclosed to the other party. These procedures might involve cases where torture victims sue the government, or inquests concerning soldiers killed by friendly fire. Several organisations and individuals have expressed their concern about the extension of the closed material procedure across the civil courts as it could undermine Britain’s justice system.

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