The Qatada Complex

When the celebrated lawyer Gareth Peirce suggested that I drop in on "Mr Othman" (Abu Qatada) for a cup of tea at his house, I jumped at the chance.  Charismatic even in a grey sweatsuit, he talked with animation about everything from the politics of the Middle East to the awkwardness of being recognised in his local (Stanmore) branch of Tesco. [...]

By | 2017-07-21T09:45:48+00:00 July 20th, 2017|Blog, Featured, Security|0 Comments

Intelligence handling and the recent terrorist attacks

After many years of relative failure, this spring has seen terrorists mount vile and contemptible attacks at Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.  I have been asked, by letter from the Home Secretary of 28 June, to provide "independent assurance" of internal reviews that police and MI5 have initiated in response.   My intention (after six years of immersion in the [...]

By | 2017-07-21T09:46:49+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Blog, Featured, Security|0 Comments

Not for wimps: the pragmatic case for human rights

Internationally recognised human rights standards are an essential benchmark for anyone who seeks an informed view on the laws governing terrorism, surveillance and extremism. But contrary to the belief propagated by some, those standards do not amount to unrealistic aspirations, dreamed up by out-of-touch academics.  Nor do they unthinkingly prioritise individual rights over our responsibilities to each other.  The ECHR, as interpreted by [...]

By | 2017-06-29T08:18:23+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Blog, Law, Security|Comments Off on Not for wimps: the pragmatic case for human rights

Terrorism, Surveillance and Extremism

This is not a blog post as such, but a compilation.  I thought it might be useful to link to what I have had to say in the past six years or so on counter-terrorism, surveillance and countering extremism. Counter-Terrorism In this field, my extremely able successor Max Hill QC now holds the reins as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (@terrorwatchdog). [...]

By | 2017-07-26T11:13:13+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Blog, Security|0 Comments

Purdah – Lifting the Veil

During this General Election campaign there have been several disputes over the application of pre-election purdah - ironically, a practice that was specifically designed to avoid imbroiling the Civil Service in controversy. My own last report as Independent Reviewer, on Deportation with Assurances, fell victim to purdah and has not yet been published, despite being submitted to the Government in final [...]

By | 2017-06-29T08:26:56+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Blog, Law, Media|Comments Off on Purdah – Lifting the Veil

Brexit: the security dimension

My article about Brexit and Security ("Terrorism: the EU picture") has just been published in Counsel Magazine.  In summary: The leadership role in the EU exercised by the UK in matters relating to security (in particular counter-terrorism) will inevitably be lost after Brexit. There are reasons to hope that broadly satisfactory arrangements can be made for [...]

By | 2017-06-07T11:12:58+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Blog, Brexit, KEEPING, Law, Security|Comments Off on Brexit: the security dimension

Brexit and the Border

I spoke in December 2016 in Belfast to the Irish Centre for European Law and to the Northern Irish Judges on the subject of "Brexit and the Border".   The NI/RoI border is twice the length of the Anglo-Welsh border, and three times the length of the Anglo-Scottish border.  My talk sought to identify some of [...]

By | 2017-06-10T08:24:56+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Blog, Brexit, Security|Comments Off on Brexit and the Border

CJEU judgment in Watson/Tele2

This post, composed immediately after judgment was handed down in this important case on 21 December 2016, encapsulates my reaction to it.   Its possible implications for the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, for the other “bulk powers” used by UK intelligence agencies and others, for the developing case law of the European Court of Human Rights and [...]

By | 2017-07-26T11:16:50+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Blog, KEEPING, Security|Comments Off on CJEU judgment in Watson/Tele2

Was Britain ever part of Europe?

This Working Paper, presented in Florence as a Distinguished Lecture at the European University Institute's summer course on EU law in July 2015, explored Britain's ambivalent relationship to Europe and gave five reasons why a vote to leave the EU - a distant possibility as the polls then stood - was a likely (though regrettable) outcome of the promised [...]

By | 2017-04-11T18:12:43+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Blog, Brexit, Featured|0 Comments

Lawyers in the Age of Trump

I had the great honour of giving the annual address at the annual Suffolk Justice Service in Bury St Edmunds Cathedral on 12 March 2017 - at the conclusion of my final term as Independent Reviewer, and just a few days before the attack in Westminster presaged the UK's worst year for terrorism since 2005.  The two previous addresses, by Supreme [...]

By | 2017-06-17T09:09:34+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Blog, Featured, Law|0 Comments