UK Supreme Court sits in secret for 1st time

AP News
Posted: Mar 21, 2013 1:37 PM

LONDON (AP) — Britain's highest court has for the first time convened behind closed doors — in a case involving an Iranian bank — just one week after the Supreme Court decided it had the power to sit in secret.

The panel of nine justices decided Thursday that a secret hearing was "absolutely necessary" in the ongoing case. The most senior judge, David Neuberger, noted that the decision was made with "great reluctance" by a majority.

Iran's Bank Mellat is trying to overturn a 2009 order by the U.K. Treasury barring it from operating in the country. That order, made under counterterrorism laws, shut the bank out of the British financial sector because it allegedly helped finance Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

The bank denies the allegation and argues the order was unlawful.