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NCJ Number: 218867 Find in a Library
Title: Balancing Liberty and Security? A Legal Analysis of United Kingdom Anti-Terrorist Legislation
Journal: European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research  Volume:13  Issue:1-2  Dated:2007  Pages:73-83
Author(s): A. T. H. Smith
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 11
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This article presents a legal analysis of anti-terrorism legislation in the United Kingdom (UK) during the past few years.
Abstract: The main argument is that the judiciary in the United Kingdom needs to redefine its position in the constitution as independent of the government and based solely on the rule of law rather than on crime prevention crises. In making this argument, the author shows how legislative measures adopted in the United Kingdom following the September 11th terrorism attacks in the United States gave the state large discretionary powers to intervene in the lives of subjects and citizens in the interests of preventing terrorism. Rapidly drafted legislation can have unintended consequences and, according to the author, the consequences of the UK counter-terrorism legislation are two-fold: (1) the law may have been drafted in such a way that its language and therefore its provisions are not confined to the control of terrorism, and (2) where laws are passed, Parliament will feel free to go further on other occasions, such as when legislators extended the power to hold suspects without charge from 14 to 28 days. Indeed, any legal change is likely to be followed by other changes that are less predictable and may be less visible. One such change can be seen in the increasing possibilities for misunderstandings and mutual irritation between judges and politicians, which has had reverberating consequences in a nation like the United Kingdom, which has an unwritten and flexible constitution. While some regard the tension between the judiciary and government as proof of a healthy state, others argue that judges are acting in constitutionally inappropriate ways that overstep their judicial discretionary powers.
Main Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics; Policy analysis
Index Term(s): Judicial independence; Legislation
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