A Spanish Fisherman – in his own words

Generations of law students have grown up on Factortame - the Spanish Fishermen's case that for more than 25 years defined the UK's constitutional relationship with Europe. My own memoir of the case (in which I represented the Fishermen for 12 years) is to be published shortly in The European Advocate. Having helped me with that piece, [...]

By | 2018-05-23T17:53:30+00:00 May 23rd, 2018|Blog, Brexit, Law|0 Comments

David Vaughan QC 1938-2018

The life of David Vaughan QC, a colleague in Chambers whom (though we were not related) I considered to be my father in the law, was celebrated yesterday evening at a Memorial Service in Temple Church, the central point of the community of barristers living and working in London. I was asked to give a tribute [...]

By | 2018-05-01T09:19:30+00:00 May 1st, 2018|Blog, Brexit, Featured, Law|0 Comments

Who Governs the Internet?

Counsel, the magazine of the Bar of England and Wales, has published my article on the subject of internet content regulation. When I submitted the original version, just before the Cambridge Analytica revelations in March, the piece seemed quite daring.  By the time of publication, it was beginning to look more orthodox.  But the issues are [...]

By | 2018-05-23T18:13:55+00:00 April 24th, 2018|Blog, Featured, Law, Security|0 Comments

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 | 2018-03-24T20:43:36+00:00 January 30th, 2018|Blog, Security|0 Comments

Shades of Independent Review

This new working paper, Shades of Independent Review (draft updated April 2018) 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 [...]

By | 2018-04-25T10:46:29+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 several years 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). His first reports were published [...]

By | 2018-06-01T09:49:57+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Blog, Security|0 Comments