The Use of Secret Evidence in Judicial Proceedings
A comparative survey prepared by Oxford Pro Bono Publico for the Joint Committee on Human Rights (October 2011)
Secret evidence, or evidence that is relied upon by the court without disclosure to one of the parties, has been used with increasing frequency in the United Kingdom over the past decade. The use of such closed material presents significant challenges in terms of the UK’s long-standing human rights obligations. On 19 October 2011 the Government published a Green Paper on Justice and Security that proposes reforms to the use of secret evidence. This Research Paper by Oxford Pro Bono Publico (OPBP) is intended to assist the Joint Committee of Human Rights (JCHR) in its scrutiny of the Government’s proposals in the Green Paper. In particular, the Research Paper aims to provide a more detailed comparative perspective on how secret evidence is treated across various jurisdictions. This will enable the JCHR to survey the different ways in which such evidence can be used, and the human rights implications of these uses.