special advocate

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An advocate appointed by the court to protect the interests of a party against whom an adverse order may be made and who cannot (either personally or through his legal representative), for reasons of national security, be fully informed of all the material relied on against him. The advocate may not disclose to the subject of the proceedings the material disclosed to him. This procedure was first introduced by s 6 of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 and r 7 of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Procedure) Rules 1998 (SI 1998/1881), in proceedings concerned with exclusion or removal of a person as conducive to the public good or in the interests of national security. Similar provision was made by s 91 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998; s 5 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and r 10 of the Proscribed Organizations Appeal Commission (Procedure) Rules 2001 (SI 2001/443); and s 70 of the Anti‐Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and r 8 of the Pathogens Access Appeal Commission (Procedure) Rules 2002 (SI 2002/1845). Although there is no similar statutory provision that relates to the appointment of a special advocate to represent the interests of the accused in an application brought by the prosecution to withhold unused material (see disclosure of unused material; public interest immunity) on public interest grounds, their use has been sanctioned by the courts in appropriate cases (see R v H; R v C [2004] 2 AC 134).

Subjects: Law.

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