Watching the watchers – implementation stocktake

The Home Secretary wrote to me today - just in time for my evidence session this afternoon before the Home Affairs Select Committee - setting out the terms for a new assignment.  That will be a "stocktake" of the implementation by MI5 and Counter-Terrorism Policing of the 126 recommendations that came out of the post-attack reviews and Operational Improvement Review completed [...]

By | 2018-01-30T12:51:12+00:00 January 30th, 2018|Blog, Security|0 Comments

Shades of Independent Review

This new draft working paper, Shades of Independent Review, is the sequel to a 2014 article (reproduced by kind permission of Public Law) on the responsibilities and influence of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (IRTL). The latest paper concentrates on changes to the functions of the IRTL in 2015, and on the potential influence of specially-commissioned reports (for example [...]

By | 2017-12-07T11:32:33+00:00 December 6th, 2017|Blog, Featured, Security|0 Comments

Report into MI5/Police intelligence-handling reviews

The Home Secretary has today published my report (submitted to her on 2 November) into the nine internal reviews by MI5 and Counter-Terrorism Police of their handling of intelligence prior to this year's terrorist attacks at Westminster, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.  I am grateful to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office and to [...]

By | 2018-01-30T10:55:00+00:00 December 5th, 2017|Blog, Featured, Security|0 Comments

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 | 2017-12-06T13:28:41+00:00 July 20th, 2017|Blog, 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 | 2017-12-06T07:56:25+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Blog, 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 successor Max Hill QC now holds the reins as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (@terrorwatchdog). While he [...]

By | 2017-12-20T15:40:20+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