A message from the reviewer

David Anderson Q.C
David Anderson Q.C

Welcome! I am an independent Q.C. and not part of the government machine. I am tasked with reviewing the operation of the United Kingdom’s anti-terrorism laws. Where I am critical, I recommend change. My reports and recommendations are submitted to ministers and laid before Parliament.

As reviewer I have a very high degree of access both to classified documents and to those most closely involved with defence against terrorism: Read more…


Surprising requests arrive from time to time, few more mystifying than the invitation to give evidence to the parliamentary committee set up to consider the draft Modern Slavery Bill.  Human trafficking, forced labour, slavery and domestic servitude are problems fully comparable in their seriousness to terrorism Рbut no one who knew anything about them would trouble to solicit my views on the subject.

On¬†closer inspection,¬†however, the invitation¬†made perfect sense.¬† It related to the proposed office of Anti-Slavery Commissioner and how, specifically, its independence should be guaranteed. Read more…



The JCHR asked me along this morning, with Ben Emmerson QC, to answer some wide-ranging questions on counter-terrorism and¬†human rights.¬† Originally planned as a private session to inform the JCHR’s future work programme, this evolved into a public hearing.

Questions touched on everything from TPIMs and Schedule 7 to surveillance issues, the ISC and the deprivation of citizenship.  I tried to stick to those which fall within my statutory remit.

I’d appreciate any comeback relating to what I said about the definition of terrorism (from 16 min).¬† Ben Emmerson’s masterclass on drones (from 39 min, and featuring some good news from the past 12 months) is also recommended.



To mark the end of my first three-year term as Independent Reviewer, I spoke to the Statute Law Society on 24 February 2014 about the history, functions and influence of the Independent Reviewer.

The talk was taken from a working paper published on SSRN.¬† It closes with two case studies (concerning, respectively, secret evidence and port powers) which show how the Independent Reviewer’s influence may work in conjunction with that of others, including Parliament and the courts.

The paper will form the basis of an article to be submitted for publication in the July 2014 edition of Public Law.