Ken Clarke’s comments on Secret Courts show alarming disregard for legal freedoms

February 12, 2013

Commenting on Ken Clarke’s description of criticisms of the Secret Courts Bill as “legalistic hair-splitting,” which he made during today’s appearance before Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, Reprieve’s Executive Director, Clare Algar said:

“This suggests that Ken Clarke either fails to understand the real concerns over this Bill, or simply isn’t interested in what anyone else has to say.

“Secret Courts would overturn the centuries-old principle that you have the right to hear and challenge the evidence used against you in court, and that justice should be seen to be done.

“To describe concerns over the abandonment of open and equal justice as ‘hair-splitting’ shows a casual disregard for Britain’s hard-won legal freedoms which is frankly alarming.

“The only safe way forward for MPs is to entirely remove the proposals for secret courts – so called ‘Closed Material Procedures’ – from this Bill altogether.”