January 2015

Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

The bill was introduced into the Westminster Parliament at the end of November by Home Secretary Theresa May, and given its second reading on 2 December.  The Society submitted a second reading letter, highlighting its concerns around the use of the ‘fast track’ procedure and the apparent speed of the bill’s legislative passage, given the provisions of the bill have significant implications on the fundamental rights of citizens. 

The bill, which is comprised of seven parts, introduces a number of measures to restrict the movement of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism related activities. It provides the power to seize the passport of a British citizen at any border control where there is reasonable grounds to believe the person is leaving the United Kingdom for the purpose of engaging in terrorism related activity.

It also provides the power to prevent a British citizen from re-entering the United Kingdom who is suspected of being involved in terrorism activity whilst abroad. In addition to the new provisions, the bill amends and extends a number of existing powers relating to the monitoring and controlling of persons suspected of being involved in terrorism related activity. 

The Society raises concerns around the introduction of a system of Temporary Exclusion Orders, 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.  

A fuller brief will be provided ahead of Committee stage, the full letter can be found on our website.