Database of secret judgments opened to special advocates & senior judges


Judges have created a secret database of intelligence and security judgments to improve access to their decisions that are made behind closed doors.

In a practice direction released last month, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, and the Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Ernest Ryder, announced that a ‘library of closed judgments’ would be established in the Royal Courts of Justice.

The Practice Direction, which applies to any court or tribunal giving a ‘closed’ judgment following a closed material procedure, stated that a single printed copy and an electronic copy of each closed judgment and any related open judgment must be lodged with the Royal Courts of Justice Senior Information Officer within 14 days of being delivered or handed down.

It follows the Court of Appeal’s decision in Guardian News & Media Ltd v R & Incedal [2016] EWCA Crim 11, in which media organisations objected to the reporting restrictions imposed in the trial at the Old Bailey of Erol Incedal, the law student who was cleared of plotting a terrorist attack in London.

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