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(Family Division, Pauffley J, 31 March 2017)
Practice and procedure – Disclosure – Care proceedings – Father involved in Islamic extremism – SSHD failed to disclose information – Application for public interest immunity
The Secretary of State for the Home Department’s application for public interest immunity was allowed.
Care proceedings were ongoing in relation to the child whose father was alleged to be an Islamic extremist who had travelled to Syria and engaged in terrorism-related activities. The local authority sought and was granted disclosure of information held by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. An attempt to discharge the disclosure order was unsuccessful and the SSHD had failed to comply with the order: Re C (A child)  EWHC 3171 (Fam),  FLW forthcoming. The Secretary of State for the Home Department now applied for public interest immunity.
The judge held a closed hearing so that oral submissions could be made by the Government Legal Department and various issues were explored.The application was allowed. The protection of national security was the critical issue and outweighed the factors in favour of disclosure. The criteria set out in R v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police, ex parte Wiley  1 AC 274 had been satisfied.
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