Monday, May 18, 2015

New Zealand Law Commission Issues Paper on National Security Information in Proceedings

The Law Commission of New Zealand has published an Issues Paper that discusses how national security information should be used and protected in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings.

It focuses on instances where national security information is relevant to a decision that affects a person's rights or interests, but its disclosure might prejudice national security. The Law Commission’s objective is to establish whether the current law effectively protects such information while upholding fair trial rights and the principles of natural justice, or whether there is scope for reform:
"This issues paper deals with issues of considerable public importance such as when the Crown should have the ability to refuse to disclose information in court proceedings, which strikes at the very heart of the open justice principle. We invite submissions as to what amounts to legitimate national security concerns (for example, protecting intelligence-gathering partnerships and methodology) and what responses can help mitigate the impact that non-disclosure of national security information might have on what are fundamental principles of our rule of law system. Our aim is to ensure the procedure is clear and effective when legitimate national security concerns necessitate that the Crown’s disclosure obligations be altered." (...)

"This review looks at the protection, disclosure, exclusion and use of relevant classified and sensitive national security information in such proceedings. As 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."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:16 pm


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