On appeal from: [2014] EWHC 3558 (Admin)

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal concerning whether there is power under the common law or under the Administration of Justice Act 1960, s 12, to prevent an individual from placing material before the European Court of Human Rights. Also, if there is such a power, whether this power can be exercised where the domestic court is satisfied that it is not in the interests of the state for the material to be made public, even to the Strasbourg Court.

In delivering the lead judgment, Lord Mance highlighted that in a purely domestic context the English courts have a discretion to refuse to permit disclosure of material deployed in camera. The present case depends on the submission that such discretion would involve the UK in a breach of the international obligations under the ECHR, art 34.

He stated that refusal to permit disclosure to the ECtHR does not constitute a breach of international law. The English courts have repeatedly found that it was both necessary and fair to hold part of the trial in camera. The in camera material formed part of the appellant’s own defence and has been seen by both him and his legal representatives. The suggestion that its publication would have advanced this defence has been rejected as implausible. If any court is to reach the conclusion that the UK is in breach of article 34 it must be the ECtHR and not the English courts

For judgment, please download: [2015] UKSC 76
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watching the hearing please visit: Supreme Court website