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02/10/2012
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Justice and Security

The Proposal

The Government:

  • proposes introducing legislation to make closed material procedures (CMPs) more widely available in civil proceedings for use in rare instances in which sensitive material is relevant to the case
  • seeks the views of the public on the applicability of CMPs to inquests, with separate consideration of the framework under which inquests operate in Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • considers that there are improvements that could be made to the Special Advocate system and will ensure that further training and support are provided where needed.  The Government is giving consideration to best facilitating communication between the Special Advocate and the individual affected by the CMP after service of closed material, in a manner that will not risk national security
  • sees benefit, if possible, in introducing legislation to clarify the contexts in which the ‘AF No.3’ / ‘gisting’ requirement does and does not apply
  • gave consideration to proposals which would (a) grant additional case management powers to judges; or (b) establish ‘specialist court structures’ to hear sensitive civil cases; or (c) reform and possibly expand the remit of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.  Subject to consultation responses, the Government does not at this stage see clear benefit in any of these proposals
  • considered enshrining the common law principle of Public Interest Immunity in legislation which might include presumptions against the disclosure of certain categories of sensitive material.  Subject to consultation responses, the Government does not propose to pursue this option
  • proposes to limit the role of the courts in cases in which individuals are seeking disclosure of sensitive material, where the Government is not otherwise a party, particularly into foreign legal proceedings over which we have no control
  • supports a number of proposals to modernise the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) and change its status, remit and powers
  • examines whether to broaden the remit of the Intelligence Services Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner in order to improve their effectiveness and credibility