The equalities watchdog threw cold water on government plans today to extend the use of secret courts as they were not compatible with the Human Rights Act.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said proposals to extend the use of secret evidence "are a departure from this country's traditions of open justice and fairness."
Under the proposals, outlined in the Justice and Security Bill, civil cases deemed to relate to "national security" would be heard in closed material proceedings meaning that the claimant would not be able to hear evidence submitted against him by the government or security forces.
EHRC general counsel John Wadham said the process to extend so-called closed material procedures was "incompatible with the Human Rights Act."
"The government's proposals to extend the use of secret hearings to civil cases are a departure from this country's traditions of open justice and fairness and there is no real evidence to show how they would improve the justice system," he said.