TOM SARGANT MEMORIAL LECTURE FOR JUSTICEÂ 24/10/2017
MAX HILL QCÂ INDEPENDENT REVIEWER OF TERRORISM LEGISLATION
âRights vs Security: the challenge engagedâ
JUSTICE does me a great honour in asking me to speak this evening.
I am especially pleased to be coming home to JUSTICE, because this is an organisation which I know and love, having worked with Andrea Coomber and Jodie Blackstock in particular for several years. We know each other through my work on behalf of the Kalisher Trust, the charity for the criminal Bar which I have chaired for four years and counting. I am proud to say that Kalisher provides an annual internship to JUSTICE, a process in which I am pleased to play my part by interviewing the best of the candidates each year alongside Andrea and Jodie. Together, we have developed a growing cadre of exceptional interns who move into pupillage and tenancy at the junior Bar. I am delighted to report that one of the recent Kalisher JUSTICE interns is currently undertaking her pupillage at Red Lion Chambers.
But I am here for a different purpose, and this kind invitation to speak follows my participation in JUSTICE human rights conferences in recent years, so it is a great pleasure if a little daunting to step up to deliver this lecture.
The UK, in fact England, this year has suffered the worst combination of terrorist attacks for many years. Since March 22nd 2017, we have all lived through the pain of witnessing murderous attacks at Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena, and London Bridge followed by Borough Market. The attack outside Finsbury Park Mosque on 19th June marked the fourth in this short list of major terrorism events, and there was a serious attempted attack at Parsons Green a few weeks ago.
It came as no great surprise when the Prime Minister, speaking from outside Downing Street, declared that âenough is enoughâ on 4th June, shortly after the London Bridge attack, going on to announce her intention that the Government should review the âcounter-extremism strategyâ, including a review of available legislation together with sentencing powers for terrorism offences.
Meanwhile, I had succeeded my distinguished predecessor David Anderson QC on 1st March 2017. Just in time to witness the horror that unfolded on Westminster Bridge exactly three weeks later, incidentally whilst I was sitting as a Recorder at the Central Criminal Court.
My task is to annually review our terrorism legislation, essentially the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006, together with the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) Act 2011 and the Terrorist Asset Freezing Act 2010.
The challenge engaged, to come to the title of this lecture, is the extent to which legislation in the interests of national security impinges upon rights which we hold to be fundamental. And a lecture in the name of the founding Secretary of JUSTICE strikes me as the perfect platform for discussing this challenge.