Clive Walker Critiques the UK Ministry of Justice Green Paper on Justice and Security

By Robert Chesney
Sunday, January 15, 2012, 11:11 PM

Back in October, we linked to a very interesting "green paper" produced by the UK Ministry of Justice addressing issues associated with secrecy, intelligence, security, and justice.  Clive Walker (Leeds) has now produced an equally interesting critique, which I heartily recommend to readers.  It is a short read, and available here.  Not just those who are interested in how the UK grapples with such questions, but also those who are looking for comparative insights that might be of interest for our own efforts in the US to handle them, will find this worth reading.  From Clive's conclusion:

As was mentioned in the introduction, it is generally accepted that the recourse to sensitive evidence is increasing in forensic settings and that this trend has resulted in legal anomalies and obscurities. However, the government must recognise that the main cause of this trend is not an increase in the amount of, or aggression within, litigation brought by private aggrieved parties, including through their reliance upon the Human Rights Act 1998. Rather, the underlying cause is the spread of functions and size of the intelligence agencies and their deployment against individuals rather than states. This point is recognised briefly in the Justice & Security Green PaperYet, it is not followed by any reflection upon the consequences of the impact of intelligence agencies on everyday lives rather than on the remote and exotic machinations of espionage. Thus, the prime deficits in accountability, powers, guidance, and training reside not with special advocates or the civil courts but in the realms of intelligence agencies and agents.Until systematic review and reform is undertaken, the government will continue to suffer discomfiture from the contemporary orientation of security services designed with inter-state espionage in mind.