In the Media

MPs demand reform of special advocate system

PUBLISHED April 4, 2005

The system under which barristers who have been appointed by the government and given security clearance represent the interests of terror suspects at secret court hearings is "critically flawed" and must be reformed urgently, MPs said yesterday.

The barristers, known as special advocates, are cleared to see secret or "closed" documents from the intelligence services, but are not allowed to speak to the suspect or his lawyers once they have seen this information.
The advocates say the rule makes it impossible for them to represent the suspects properly because they are unable to put allegations to them and find out whether there is an innocent explanation.