Chapter 1
​Setting the scene

The review

1.4The Law Commission has been asked to undertake a first principles review of the protection of classified and sensitive national security information in the course of criminal, civil and administrative proceedings that determine individuals’ rights, and as appropriate, make recommendations for reform. This review looks at the protection, disclosure, exclusion and use of relevant classified and sensitive national security information in such proceedings.

1.5As part of the review the Law Commission is considering whether legislation is needed to provide a process by which national security information may be disclosed and used in court (including criminal trials) and in tribunal proceedings and administrative decisions (and appeals against decisions) in a way that protects the information while maintaining principles of natural justice.

1.6The purpose of this review is to understand and simplify the way national security information is treated in the context of court proceedings and administrative decisions so as to ensure both natural justice and national security are protected. This review is not intended to propose any new substantive actions or rights.

1.7The Law Commission is considering, among other things, the approaches of other jurisdictions under which national security information can be admitted but not disclosed to affected parties or defendants (or only disclosed to a special advocate acting on behalf of such parties).

1.8As well as analysing the various issues raised by the terms of reference, we make a number of preliminary proposals in the paper as to how those issues might be best resolved. This, however, is only an issues paper. These proposals are not final recommendations. Indeed, the point of providing proposals at this stage is to elicit comment and submissions that will feed into the Law Commission’s final report. Details on how to make submissions can be found on page iv and submissions are open until 30 June 2015.