The home secretary, Charles Clarke, last night hinted that he would like to move away from the time-honoured "adversarial system" of British justice in terrorist cases as part of his wider review of the counter-terrorism laws.
"I am not an absolute fan of adversarial justice. I am prepared in due course to look at some other systems that could be appropriate in this area," he told the Commons home affairs select committee last night.
Mr Clarke acknowledged that the implications of such a change in the British legal system would be enormous and would need very wide consultation. Although he did not specify the alternative it must be assumed he would like to see a move to the French inquisitorial system, in which the judge also takes on the role of prosecutor.