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Discuss the arguments for and against the use of Closed Material Procedures (CMP) in national security matters - Term Paper Example

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The Use of Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) in National Security Matters Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) encompass the appointment of “Special Advocates” where any “relevant material” related to a case, which may “harm public interest” can still be used instead of excluding it from the proceedings.1 The purpose of CMP is to facilitate people with adequate “procedural justice” in cases where it may not practically be desirable to disclose specific material or information in public interest.2 The basic principle of criminal justice system is to extend all individuals with an opportunity to defend their cases and to provide them free and fair trials…
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Discuss the arguments for and against the use of Closed Material Procedures (CMP) in national security matters
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Download file to see previous pages Thus, courts in many cases, have to deny access of specific documents or information to individuals, from the point of view of public interest. Though such measures have been introduced with the primary objective of safeguarding public interest, the issue of CMP has become a controversial topic due to its far-reaching implication of the criminal justice system as a whole. In normal court proceedings, individuals and their legal representatives are allowed to be present and examine all the documents that are allowed as evidences in a case during the trial and such proceedings are known as open procedure. However, in cases where the examination of any documents by individuals is considered as a breach of national security, individuals are not allowed to examine the relevant document and such materials are known as “closed” materials.3 However, a government appointed lawyer, who represents the individual, or Special Advocate, will be allowed to “attend all parts of” the proceedings and extended access to all the documents examined during the trial.4 This is to ensure that the government preserves a “strong and independent judiciary” to protect the rights and freedom of its citizens.5 On the other hand, the government has a primary responsibility for protecting national security to guarantee the safety and security of the citizens. Thus, it becomes significant that the government strikes a balance between the protection of national security and safeguarding the rights and freedom of individuals. The debate regarding CMPs, thus, focuses its attention on protecting the national security without injuring or compromising the concepts of the freedom of individuals and facilitating them a fair trial. One of the main arguments against CMPs is that the system of suppressing material is “inherently unfair” and that a hearing that disallows individuals from being present or examining the documents “undermines the credibility” of the legal system.6 The opponents of CMPs further argue that the system of allowing the prosecution, usually represented by the government, to “present its case” without extending the defence an opportunity of “public scrutiny” is against the principles of justice.7 They also contend that apart from the inherent risks associated with CMP, it considerably reduces the “degree of judicial and Ministerial scrutiny” of how the cases are tried and this can have a detrimental effect on “transparency and accountability” of justice system as well as compromise its “credibility.”8 Thus, the main argument against CMPs relies on the premise that this practice undermines the concept of fair trial to individuals as in this system they are not allowed to examine all the documents that the prosecution relies on for the purpose of proving their case. It is needless to mention that when a defendant is disallowed the opportunity of viewing a prosecution document, it necessarily pre-empts him or her from properly preparing his or her defence. Thus, this procedure, to a ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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