Supreme Court to hear ‘secret’ hearings challenge in Libya rendition case

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court is to hear a case challenging the use of powers to hold closed court hearings under the Justice and Security Act 2013 (JSA 2013). 

The case is brought by Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar, who allege that they were unlawfully rendered to Libya, with British involvement. The claimants have brought judicial review proceedings challenging the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge senior UK official Sir Mark Allen with misconduct in public office over his alleged role in the rendition. The Director of Public Prosecutions concluded there was insufficient evidence against him.

The Supreme Court hearing tomorrow concerns whether or not part of the judicial review proceedings can take place in secret, under ‘closed material procedures’ provided for in the JSA 2013. Closed material procedures were brought in to allow courts to hear material that would be damaging to national security if heard in public. The JSA 2013 explicitly excludes ‘criminal cause or matter’ from the scope of its secrecy powers. However, the parties to the case disagree as to whether judicial review proceedings concerning a decision not to prosecute constitute a ‘criminal cause or matter’.

Read more details here.