The Supreme Court has today for the first time interpreted the UK’s notably broad legal definition of terrorism.¬†¬† Mohammed Gul challenged his 2009 terrorism conviction for uploading videos of (among other things) Al-Qaida and Taliban attacks on Coalition forces in Afghanistan.¬† The legal question¬†for the Supreme¬†Court¬†was whether the statutory¬†definition includes military attacks by a non-state armed group in the course of a non-international armed conflict. Read more…

Terrorism was commonplace prior to 9/11: yet the years since then have seen an unprecedented growth in anti-terrorism law.  

This paper suggests that some of the conventional justifications for terrorism-specific laws are overblown, and that such laws¬†need to¬†be¬†justified¬†by¬†the particular demands of policing and prosecuting this type of crime.¬†¬†An appropriate¬†definition of terrorism, together with¬†a culture of executive restraint, can help keep the UK’s anti-terrorism laws within reasonable bounds.¬†¬†But the key factor is¬†to ensure that there are functioning constitutional limits on the power of Government.¬† In that respect, both Parliament and the courts ‚Äď including the European Court of Human Rights ‚Äďhave been more effective in recent years than they are often given credit for.

The article was published in [2013] 3 EHRLR 233-246 (June 2013).  The working paper is here:  SHIELDING THE COMPASS.

It was originally delivered in lecture form in February 2013, in the offices of Clifford Chance at South Quay, Docklands, as the annual Clifford Chance / University of Essex Lecture¬†entitled “The Meaning of Terrorism”.