MPs should oppose secret courts
The NUJ remains seriously concerned about the proposals in the Justice and Security Bill due to be debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday 18 December 2012.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “The NUJ is alarmed at the measures proposed in the Justice and Security Bill, which will close down reportage on civil proceedings and court cases. The proposals will allow the government to present evidence to a judge without having to disclose it to the court, including the defendant or claimant. The union believes this will undermine a fundamental constitutional right: the right to open justice and as a consequence - the NUJ will be campaigning against the Bill and reaching out to other organisations and individuals who share our concerns."
David Cameron defended his plans for secret court hearings when questioned about the Justice and Security Bill by the House of Commons Liaison Committee.
The government wants some civil cases involving sensitive information to be heard in front of a judge rather than a minister and this change is welcomed by the NUJ but the union remains opposed to allowing cases to rely upon secret evidence which cannot be challenged or reported.
The parliamentary joint committee on human rights said the Bill was "a radical departure from the UK's constitutional tradition of open justice and fairness" and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) voted to oppose the Justice and Security Bill at TUC Congress in September 2012.
The NUJ is opposed to the dangerous new powers set out in the Justice and Security Bill – they will damage our democracy, close off open courts and shut down public scrutiny.