February 2015

Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

Following the submission of a second reading letter to MPs in December, the Society sent a full briefing to all Scottish Peers ahead of the Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords on 13 January.  The Society re-iterated its concerns surrounding the Bill, particularly that it is susceptible to successful challenge under human rights legislation and that it is going through under the fast track procedure, without the opportunity for proper scrutiny and debate.   The Bill proposes to introduce a Temporary Exclusion Order, an order requiring an individual with the right of abode not to return to the UK.  This raises ECHR issues and the Society highlights that consideration must be given to how the provisions of the bill ensure an individual’s human rights are upheld.  The Bill also allows for the seizure and temporary retention of passports by the police, where an individual is suspected of intending to leave the UK, or has arrived in the UK with the intention of leaving soon after for the purposes of terrorist activity.  In its briefing the Society highlights that there are existing travel restriction powers which were introduced in 2011 (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure orders), which are designed to protect the public from persons believed to be engaged in terrorism-related activity, and questions whether the provision to seize and retain a person’s passport is a justified interference with the individual’s rights of respect to a private and family life under Article 8 ECHR.

The full briefing can be found on our website