This is all blatant nonsense. The suggested plan is concerned with civil actions, where the government is the defendant and a private citizen is bringing a case for compensation. This doesn’t affect criminal justice in any way. The Government could have argued that because compensation suits in terrorism-related cases cannot be litigated without producing evidence that could damage national security, they should not be allowed to proceed. In many ways, that would be a sensible decision: the number of people who work for MI5 and MI6 who are now tied up in trying to defend their organisations from compensation claims, rather than in protecting the rest of us from terrorism, has started to reach dangerously high levels.
But the Government did not make that argument. It is trying to find a way to permit suits for compensation, while also protecting national security. This is not the action of a state that aspires to the tyranny that crushes the miserable people of North Korea.
The new proposals certainly involve an extension of secret courts – and secret justice in any form is never going to deliver perfect justice. But there has to be some compromise with the principle that “justice must be seen to be done”, if civil cases against the Government are to proceed without seriously damaging the security services’ ability to protect the rest of us.
Will these suggested compromises destroy justice in Britain? No. They will simply mean that the state can defend itself when sued by people who may have no right to any compensation at all.