Why is For Their Eyes Only important?
The Justice and Security Act will make drastic changes to our system of justice and fair trials.
The Act not only overturns centuries of common law fair trial protections for those seeking to challenge the actions of the State, but also undermines the vital constitutional principle that no one is above the law, including the Government.
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Tell me more about For Their Eyes Only
Lib Dem resignations
Several brave and principled Liberal Democrat members have resigned in protest against the Justice & Security Bill, including Jo Shaw, Dinah Rose QC and Philippe Sands QC.
Over 700 of the country's leading lawyers - including 40 QCs - have signed Liberty's petition condemning the Justice and Security Bill and Government plans to introduce Secret Courts into ordinary civil law.
Alongside the petition a group human rights organisations from across the world including Liberty, the American Civil Liberties Union and civil liberties organisations from Hungary, Egypt, Canada, Ireland, South Africa and Argentina issued a joint statement: “Every decent justice system is built upon openness, fairness and equality under the law. These are the principles which are missing from those states founded on dictatorship rather than democracy, fear rather than freedom.
"The past decade has seen terrors perpetrated against innocent citizens in freedom’s name; shameful treatment of individuals by powerful governments and their agents. We now look to a future where these dark practices are exposed and never repeated.
"The proposal for secret courts in the British Government’s Justice and Security Bill has huge ramifications for this pursuit of accountability and transparency. The contagion of secrecy not only creates more victims; with cover up comes public distrust in vital democratic institutions entrusted with safeguarding democracy, security and the rule of law itself. If the UK Parliament passes this proposal into law it will be a huge setback for those of us fighting to secure truth and fairness from our own governments and within our own justice systems across the world.”
What has happened and what will happen?
The Justice and Security Bill was announced in the wake of high-profile and embarrassing litigation and media investigations which revealed the UK Government’s shameful involvement in extraordinary rendition, torture and indefinite detention without trial.
Passed in 2013, The justice and Security Act seeks to limit public scrutiny of the Government and our security services and public bodies and avoid further embarrassment by sweeping aside a centuries-old justice system in favour of one that is deeply flawed and unfair.
Designed to keep the press and public in the dark, these proposals will have serious implications for media freedom and the rights of potential victims and their families seeking answers and justice.