This week began with the Ministry of Justice being warned that the proposals in its justice and security green paper , allowing more claimants to access sensitive information. have come from human rights organisations, MPs, lawyers and across the media but this time sounding the alarm was ... the Ministry of Justice. The government's own found the use of "closed material proceedings" may also result in jurors finding the vetting procedure intrusive, and in "resentment of the judicial process and unwillingness to participate in jury service".
The Guardian's editorial, published on the same day as the Daily Mail's criticism of the plans, warned:
"If the proposals set out in the green paper on justice and security become law, the secretary of state would decide if a claim against government should be heard in secret. Ministers whisper sweet reason about judges retaining a say on whether a case should be heard behind closed doors. That is true enough, but misleading. The judge will only be able to challenge secrecy where the secretary of state's deliberations were outright "irrational", as opposed to being free to strike a proper balance between open justice in public and any harm caused by disclosure."
Ken Clarke was before parliament's joint committee on human rights on Tuesday. He admitted to being "unsettled" by criticism from special advocates about his plans for extending secret courts. Richard Norton-Taylor , "It was difficult to know, as he responded to questions in his characteristic rumbustious manner, how convinced Clarke really is about the merits of the government's proposals", although spies and satisfying the Americans seemed to be his real preoccupation:
Threats by the CIA to stop sharing information with UK security and intelligence agencies is what really lies behind the green paper.
Criticism of MoJ proposals came from the Lords this week, as peers rejected reform of the legal aid system. Defeats included plans to and preserved legal aid for .
Polly Toynbee that "few hearts bleed at cutting lawyers' fees", but Clarke "blurs the difference between fat cat barristers earning fortunes from legal aid in high-profile criminal cases, whose fees he leaves untouched – and the work of social conscience lawyers, whose fees he is abolishing completely" in a defence of public interest lawyers. Criminal barristers Michael Todd QC and Max Hill QC .
Meanwhile, the government celebrated by to stalking and domestic violence offences. David Cameron . Guardian Law welcomes this move, although wonders what took so long. Read urging the UK to join other signatories to the convention that we published in May last year.
Finally, Guardian Law were the the nominees to be the UK's next judge in Strasbourg. Sir Nicolas Bratza, the current president at the European court of human rights, is due to retire in November, leaving a vacancy. Of the three candidates, Joshua Rozenberg of Matrix chambers, as the "clear front-runner".
JOBS OF THE WEEK
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Gill Phillips to the draft defamation bill
Alex Aldridge offers and advises how to avoid cross examinations
Adam Sampson, the legal ombudsman, warns lawyers to
BEST OF THE WEB
David Cole writes in the New York Review of Books on the speech made by the American attorney general on judicial killing:
Alison Cole of the Open Society Justice Initiative writes on on the Open Society blog
Next week, look out for coverage of the Sir Nicolas Bratza , UK supreme court judgment in the , the first judgment by the international criminal court in and a from Strasbourg on kettling.
Until then, have a good weekend,