originally by: The Independent
published: 22 November 2012
The Government’s plans to allow some courts to sit in secret to hear evidence from spies were in crisis last night after the House of Lords inflicted a series of blows to the scheme. The proposals have provoked a civil liberties storm with critics claiming they will undermine fundamental principles of open justice.
Ministers argue the moves are essential to allow the state to defend itself in civil cases – notably against accusations of being complicit in torture – without having to disclose sensitive intelligence material to claimants.
But Tories joined Labour and Liberal Democrat peers to demand a series of changes to the controversial Justice and Security Bill.
First, they voted by a majority of 100 to allow claimants – and not just the Government – to apply for cases to be heard behind closed doors if they thought secret material could help their case.