A. W. Brian Simpson

Even in peacetime in Britain it is possible to be tried for very serious criminal offences in camera, in particular for offences against the Official Secrets Acts (OSA). The most remarkable trials in camera have been cases thought to involve national security. After some uncertainty the military persuaded the government to introduce what amounted to a form of martial law legitimised by emergency legislation under the Defence of the Realm Acts (DORA). Under the DORA of 27 November 1914 the military was given the power to try anyone, including civilian British subjects, by court martial for DORA offences, even offences involving a possible death penalty. The War Office rejected a compromise, which would have been to either drop the death penalty for DORA offences, or introduce an appeal is such cases.

in Domestic and international trials, 1700–2000