Clegg opposes secret trials plans

Government plans to hold more inquests and court cases behind closed doors could suffer a setback after the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told Cabinet colleagues he could not support the proposals in their current form.

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Justice Secretary 'shared concerns' about secret courts

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has said he shared the concerns of Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg over controversial proposals for secret court hearings.

The Lord Chancellor specifically recognised worries over whether the Secretary of State should make rulings on what information should be heard privately - and committed to ensuring it would always be a judge making the final decision.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, the Justice Secretary said:"The fact is at the moment is this evidence is never given.

The problem - which I don't think the joint committee addresses and which Nick is trying to address, and he's not ruled the whole thing out at all - is you can't have your British intelligence officers giving evidence in open court saying my source is X."

Mr Clarke said the Government would continue to debate the issue before reaching a collective decision.

Tory peer says there is no case for secret courts

Tory peer Baroness Berridge sits on the Joint Committee on Human Rights and explained to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme why the committee had concerns about MrClarke's plans.

She said: "The proposals would bring about a fundamental change to the way in which our courts operate.

"We are not just talking about private hearings, like in family court situations. A secret hearing will involve one of the parties to the proceedings not actually being present during the hearing, and their lawyer not being present.

"Our system depends on the adversarial system where you know the case against you and you can rebut that evidence."

The Joint Committee on Human Rights call for u-turn on Justice Secretary's plans

The Joint Committee on Human Rights have called on the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to perform a u-turn on the controversial and wide-ranging proposals.

Dr Hywel Francis, chairman of the committee, said it was "troubling" that the justice and security green paper "was not as clear as it should have been on the scope of its proposals or the narrowness of the justification for changing the law".

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