New anti-terrorism bill published

Updated | As a follow-up to Isabel McArdle’s post on an unsuccessful challenge to a control order, a quick note to say that the long-heralded Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill was published last week. 

The purpose of the bill, first previewed in January by the Counter-terroism review (see my post), is to abolish control orders and make provision for the imposition of terrorism prevention and investigation measures (so-called “TPIMs”). For more information on the human rights controversies surrounding control orders, see my post: Control orders: what are they are why do they matter?

Some useful links for more information on the bill:

The Home Office press release highlights the following features of the bill:

- increased safeguards for the civil liberties of individuals subject to the measures, including:

  • higher test for the measures to be imposed than exists for control orders
  • maximum time limit of two years – further measures can only then be imposed if the person has re-engaged in terrorism

- restrictions that impact on an individual’s ability to follow a normal pattern of daily life will be kept to the minimum necessary to protect the public, and will be proportionate and clearly justified. It will be much clearer what restrictions can and cannot be imposed, including:

  • lengthy curfews will be replaced by a more flexible overnight residence requirement
  • relocation to another part of the country without consent will be scrapped
  • geographical boundaries will be replaced with the more limited power to impose tightly-defined exclusions from particular areas
  • individuals subject to the measures must be permitted a landline and a mobile telephone, and a computer with internet connection

- broad judicial oversight of the system

  • high court permission will be needed to impose the measures (or to immediately confirm measures imposed in urgent cases)
  • there will be a full automatic review of each case in which measures will be imposed
  • rights of appeal for the individual against refusal of a request to revoke or vary the measures

- a duty on the Secretary of State to consult on the prospects of prosecuting an individual before measures may be imposed, and a duty to keep the necessity of the measures under review while they are in force

- the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation will publish an annual review of the operation of the system

The bill is expected to receive royal assent by the end of 2011. I have republished the PDF version of the bill below via Scribd. You can click to view it full screen.

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One thought on “New anti-terrorism bill published

  1. At first sight the Bill seems better than the PTA 2005 regime. Just a few initial thoughts:

    The test for the conditions A to E is generally reasonable belief or reasonably considers. Hardly a very demanding test.

    What does “obviously flawed” mean? Could this phrase drag the court into the merits of making an order?

    I am somewhat surprised that the Clause 21 offence is triable either-way. The “mode of trial” would depend on the seriousness of the breach. From the very context – an order aimed at preventing terrorism – the case would only sensibly be seen as very serious though I suppose it is possible to imagine some breaches of lesser significance arising maybe from misunderstanding of the order.

    If the case has to go to Magistrates’ Court then perhaps the Bill should require the trial to be conducted by a District Judge or by a Circuit or High Court Judge brought in for the purpose. (They can sit in Magistrates’ Courts under the Courts Act 2003). If the case goes to Crown Court then would there be jury vetting and how would the evidence be presented?

    Just initial thoughts – will study this Bill a lot more.

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