The special advocate regime and security issues
9.1We have recommended (in the preceding three chapters) the appointment of special advocates as a way to represent the interests of a party excluded from closed procedures in which national security information is being considered. We have suggested that the use of special advocates in closed procedures can operate to allow information to be put before the court that would otherwise be excluded where this is in the interests of justice.
- In civil proceedings and appeals and reviews of administrative decisions by the court involving national security information, we have recommended that a special advocate be appointed to represent the interests of the affected non-Crown party during any closed preliminary hearing.
- In civil proceedings and appeals and reviews of administrative decisions where the court orders that part of the substantive hearing be heard as a closed procedure, the special advocate will represent the affected party’s interests during the closed portion of the case.
- In criminal cases, we have recommended the appointment of a special advocate to represent and protect the interests of the defendant during any closed pre-trial hearing on disclosure where the prosecution has withheld national security information.
9.2In this chapter, we make recommendations on the role of special advocates and the core features of the special advocate regime. We then also deal with some remaining issues relating to closed procedures, such as maintaining security and ensuring protection of information.