School of Law

Terrorism Law Professor gives Home Office seminar

26 February 2013 | Alex Greenwood

Professor Clive Walker shared his legal expertise in terrorism law with experts at the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism in the Home Office on 14 February.

He gave a seminar entitled “Executive orders against suspected terrorists: an assessment of experiences of control orders and TPIMs in the UK and Australia” as part of the Home Office Masterclass on Counter Terrorism series.

In his seminar, he reviewed and compared the counter-terrorism legislation in the UK and Australia that allowed for the creation of executive orders against suspected terrorists.

These executive orders, often referred to as control orders, allowed for severe restrictions on liberty, and the withdrawal of rights to communication, association and movement, to be imposed on terrorist suspects without proof of any criminal offence.

Professor Walker explored how disquiet over such control orders in the UK led to a reform process that resulted in the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 where new measures replaced the old controversial orders.

Though these new measures did not depart from the basic blue-print of control orders, they did represent a better designed and more proportionate version. Features such as relocation and total bans on electronic communications and association were dropped, and no person could be subjected to an order for more than two years.

The new scheme also embodied other important safeguards, such as independent reviewers and special advocates who reviewed secret evidence and attended secret hearings.

Professor Walker advocated that Australia should emulate similar revisions to its control order counter-terrorism legislation and that such revisions were timely considering the pending reports from the Australian Governments Review of Counter-Terrorism Legislation, as well as the second review by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.

Professor Clive Walker is a leading commentator on terrorism and the law. David Anderson QC, Government Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation in the UK described Professor Walker's latest book, Terrorism and the Law, published by Oxford University Press, as "an essential tool for all those concerned with the law and policy of counter-terrorism".

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