I spoke to Charon QC this afternoon about last Friday’s judgment in R (Mohamed) v Foreign Secretary, in which the Administrative Court ruled that it should make public in its original judgment 7 paragraphs, consisting of 25 lines, summarising American intelligence agency reports to British officers, in which they apparently admit Mohamed was subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment – possibly amounting to torture – while held in Pakistan in 2002. They had ruled back in February that the public interest in disclosure was outweighed by concerns for national security, since any publication of reports provided to British intelligence by the Americans would lead the US to review its intelligence sharing with Britain. But they reopened their judgment because they felt they had not been given an accurate picture of the American government’s attitude – and now they’ve gone the other way.

I think the whole thing is a judicial mess. I don’t say the judgment is wrong; but last week’s decision could just as well have been arrived at in February, and although the judges make great play of a supposed change in Washington’s attitude, I’m not at all convinced. Either they were wrong in February, and now realise it; or they’re wrong now.

Listen to the podcast of our discussion here.