The Rise and Spread of the Special Advocate

Public Law, pp. 717-741, 2008

42 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2008 Last revised: 14 Sep 2016

See all articles by John Ip

John Ip

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July, 2008


This article critically examines the special advocate procedure, a means devised to reconcile the use of secret evidence with principles of due process or natural justice. The special advocate is a lawyer who is appointed to represent the interests of a person during proceedings in which the state relies on sensitive material that cannot be disclosed to that person.

The article traces the origins of the idea of the special advocate procedure, its establishment in the United Kingdom, and its eventual spread to Canada and New Zealand. It then considers: (1) whether special advocates can be effective in ensuring fairness, given the constraints under which they operate; and (2) whether other issues related to their increased use militate against wider adoption.

Keywords: terrorism, national security, special advocate, secret evidence, classified information

Suggested Citation

Ip, John, The Rise and Spread of the Special Advocate (July, 2008). Public Law, pp. 717-741, 2008, Available at SSRN:

John Ip (Contact Author)

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

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