Children can be taken away by social services over 'secret MI5 allegations they cannot rebut'

New legal guidance on children in radicalisation court cases has been described as "chilling" by a human rights lawyer.

The guidance, issued by Sir James Munby, the president of the Family Division (part of the High Court), last week, cites the increasing number of cases regarding children who have been groomed by Isis recruits and have attempted to, or who are at threat of, travelling to the Middle East.

Sir James suggests that while care proceedings in those cases would usually be started by local authorities, he sees no reason that "the police should not start such proceedings" for the purposes of taking a child out of their parents' custody, obtaining an injunction to prevent them travelling abroad, or withdrawing their passport.

While the guidance also maintains that "the interest of the individual child is paramount" and states that "the media should be excluded only as a last resort" it also warns judges to be aware that some of the information provided to the court from the police or security services is of sensitive nature and its disclosure could "damage the public interest" or even "put lives at risk".

It therefore notes the "need to avoid inappropriately wide or inadequately defined requests for disclosure of information or documents".

In response to its publication, Dinah Rose QC, who has won a series of victories in government secrecy cases - including the revelation of Prince Charles's so-called "black spider" memos - claimed the guidance was "chilling".

The human rights lawyer, who, it has been noted, "strikes fear into the heart of every spy, securocrat and obstinate minister in Britain", went on to point out that the gradual seeping in of secret processes in British courts is "toxic to justice".

But Rose, a barrister at Blackstone Chambers, was not alone in her condemnation of the new measures. Many lawyers and those with an interest in the justice system were quick to vent their disbelief:

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)