Government confirms steps to review use of closed court hearings

The Government has responded to a question from Ken Clarke about the five-year review of Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) under the Justice and Security Act 2013.

The Act received Royal Assent five years ago.  Part 2 of the Act, which came into force in June 2013, brought in the use CMPs.  CMPs allow courts to consider material that would be damaging to the interests of national security, without such material being disclosed to the non-Governmental party to the case.  The Supreme Court recently heard a challenge to the use of CMPs in a judicial review of the decision not to charge Sir Mark Allen over his alleged role in the rendition of Libyan dissidents. 

As part of important safeguards in the Act, the Government is required to appoint a person to review the use of CMPs after five years, and the review must be completed as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the five year period (ie. June 2013 – June 2018).

In response to a written question from Ken Clarke, the Government confirmed that on 13 November 2017, the previous Secretary of State for Justice, David Lidington, wrote to his counterparts at the time in the departments that use CMPs, to draw attention to the five-year review and to discuss arrangements for the review.  The Ministry of Justice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Lucy Frazer, confirmed that “discussions between officials are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course.”

Read the full written question and answer here.