A breakthrough in Britain: MI5 and MI6 will not be able to keep evidence in a civil trial secret because it pertains to their alleged collusion in the Bush-Cheney torture policy:
In their ruling, Lord Neuberger, master of the rolls, Lord Justice Maurice Kay, and Lord Justice Sullivan said that accepting the case of the security and intelligence agencies would amount to "undermining one of [the common law's] most fundamental principles".
"A further fundamental common law principle is that trials should be conducted in public, and the judgments should be given in public.
"In our view the principle that a litigant should be able to see and hear all the evidence which is seen and heard by a court determining his case is so fundamental, so embedded in the common law that, in the absence of parliamentary authority, no judge should override it, at any rate in relation to an ordinary civil claim ..."
Moreover, the judges said, if a party was to win a case where the evidence was heard in secret, there was a "substantial risk" that it "would not be vindicated and that justice would not be seen to have been done. The outcome would be likely to be a pyrrhic victory for the defendants whose reputation would be damaged by such a process, but the damage to the reputation of the court would in all probability, be even greater."
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