Update on November 21, 2012
About the Justice and Security Bill The first reading of the Justice and Security Bill took place in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. The bill proposes: Strengthened oversight by Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Headquarters and other activities relating to intelligence or security matters. To expand the statutory remit of the ISC and allow Parliament to have a more substantial role in ISC appointments. For closed material procedure in relation to certain civil proceedings in the High Court, the Court of Session or the Court of Appeal. Also to extend closed material procedure for cases containing sensitive information and connected purposes. The Joint Committee on Human Rights recommends a number of amendments to the Bill to ensure that: the court has a genuine discretion to make a declaration, whether on the application of either party or of its own motion, that the proceedings are proceedings in which a closed material application may be made to the court; the court considers whether a claim for public interest immunity could have been made before making a declaration that a closed material procedure may be used; a closed material procedure is only ever permitted as a last resort, where the court is satisfied that a fair determination of the issues is not possible by any other means; within a closed material procedure, a full judicial balancing takes place between the public interest in the fair and open administration of justice and the likely degree of harm to the interests of national security; and the excluded party in a closed material procedure is always provided with at least a gist of the closed material, sufficient to enable him to give effective instructions to his legal representatives and special advocates.