Special Advocates in the Adversarial System: A Panel Discussion

by | Mar 6, 2020

The panel will be held 31 March 2020, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm at Gideon Schreier LT, UCL Laws, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London.

Organised by UCL Centre for Criminal Law and 6KBW College Hill.


  • Jonathan Hall QC (6KBW College Hill)
  • Tom Hickman QC (UCL & Blackstone Chambers)
  • Professor John Jackson (University of Nottingham)
  • Cathryn McGahey QC (Temple Garden Chambers)
  • Shaheen Rahman QC (One Crown Office Row)
  • Sir Stephen Silber (former High Court Judge)

About the event

The last twenty years have seen an unprecedented rise in the use of “closed material proceedings” largely brought about in response to the need to protect intelligence sources in the fight against terrorism. This has called into question the commitment of legal systems to long-cherished principles of adversarial justice and due process. Foremost among the measures designed to minimise the prejudice caused to parties who have been excluded from such proceedings has been the use of “special advocates” who are given access to sensitive national security material and can make representations to the court on behalf of excluded parties.

In 2019 Professor John Jackson published a study – the first of its kind – analysing the professional services special advocates offer across a range of different types of closed proceedings. Drawing on extensive interviews with special advocates and with lawyers and judges who have worked with them, his book examines the manner in which special advocates are appointed and supported, how their position differs from that of ordinary counsel within the adversarial system, and the challenges they face in the work that they do. In making an assessment of the future of special advocacy, Professor Jackson argues that there is a need to reconceptualise the unique role that special advocates play in the administration of justice.

This event, hosted by the UCL Centre for Criminal Law in conjunction with 6KBW College Hill, will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the findings made by Professor Jackson in his ground-breaking study.  In a panel discussion moderated by Jonathan Hall QC, Professor Jackson will begin by outlining some of the key points derived from his study. The other panellists, who have extensive experience of national security litigation from a variety of perspectives, will then provide their views on the special advocate system and its relationship to the adversarial process.  Time permitting, there will an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

A reception hosted by 6KBW College Hill will follow the event.

To book your place see here. For more information visit here.

Share this:


Submit a Comment

Related Content

Work, Human Rights, and Human Capabilities – Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL)

Work, Human Rights, and Human Capabilities – Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL)

Oxford Labour Law Discussion Group seminar Professor Virginia Mantouvalou (University College London) Work, ...
Democratic Dialogue and the Constitution-Alison Young (Oxford)

Democratic Dialogue and the Constitution-Alison Young (Oxford)

In partnership with The Programme for the Foundations of Law and Constitutional Government, the OxHRH has ...
Refugee Studies Centre Seminar: Islamic Traditions of Refuge in the Crises of Iraq and Syria

Refugee Studies Centre Seminar: Islamic Traditions of Refuge in the Crises of Iraq and Syria

Dr Tahir Zaman (University of Sussex)  Wednesday May 23, Seminar Room 3, Oxford Department of International ...