8 November 2010
Updated | On 3 November the judge acting as coroner for the 7/7 inquests ruled that she does not have the power to hold secret hearings to hear evidence which, if made public, would pose a threat to national security. Dame Heather Hallett also ruled that although she, as a Court of Appeal Judge, could look at ‘intercept evidence’ governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (“RIPA”), such material could not form part of the evidence at the inquests.
The fundamental problem faced by Hallett LJ, linking the two parts of her ruling, was what to do about intelligence material , the revelation of which “in unredacted form would threaten national security” but which might have a bearing on her findings at the inquests. The problem can be traced back to Hallett LJ’s earlier ruling concerning the issues to be determined at the inquest, in particular the requirement for: