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 |2020-02-24T10:26:38+00:00July 20th, 2017|Blog, Security|Comments Off on The Qatada Complex

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 |2020-02-24T10:26:48+00:00June 28th, 2017|Blog, Security|Comments Off on Intelligence handling and the recent terrorist attacks

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+00:00June 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 |2020-02-24T10:26:57+00:00June 6th, 2017|Blog, Security|Comments Off on Terrorism, Surveillance and Extremism

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 |2018-07-11T09:05:03+00:00April 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+00:00April 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+00:00April 11th, 2017|Blog, KEEPING, Security|Comments Off on CJEU judgment in Watson/Tele2

Looking back

As my six-year tenure as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation drew to a close, I spoke quite a bit to media about the job and my conclusions.  A selection is here. Film about the Independent Reviewer's work for BBC2's Daily Politics, March 2016 Podcast of interview with Joshua Rozenberg for Law in Action, November 2016 Webcast [...]

By |2017-07-20T23:23:03+00:00March 15th, 2017|Blog, Media, Security|Comments Off on Looking back

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 – an exercise in democracy

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 became law on 29 November, when it received Royal Assent.  It is currently being brought into force in stages. This post, originally composed on 3 December 2016, is my big-picture reaction to the Act, which was influenced by my reports A Question of Trust (June 2015) and Report of Bulk Powers Review (August [...]

By |2017-06-26T20:48:39+00:00December 3rd, 2016|Blog, KEEPING, Security|Comments Off on The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 – an exercise in democracy

Report of Bulk Powers Review, August 2016

The report of my Bulk Powers Review, which I delivered to the Prime Minister on 7 August, was published to Parliament (in unaltered form, and without redactions or confidential annex) at 11 am today. Web and print versions of the report are on the gov.uk website, and a PDF copy of the report is here: Bulk Powers Review – final [...]

By |2020-02-24T10:27:42+00:00August 16th, 2016|Blog, Security|Comments Off on Report of Bulk Powers Review, August 2016
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