TheTreatment of ForeignTerror Suspects
Following the bombings in London of July 2005,the Prime Minister,TonyBlair warned that‘the
rules of the game are changing’.The proposed changes have primarily related to foreignsuspects
of terrorism and engage rules relating to asylum, deportationand nationality. TheTerrorismAct
2006 and the Immigration, Asylum and NationalityAct 2006, whichgive e¡ect to the proposals,
are examined and analysed with reference to the policy choices in regard to counter-terrorism
strategy, to the weighting of rights against policy, and tochoices between rights, including the
treatment of absolute rights.
The bombings in London of 7 July 2005 killed or injured dozens of people.
These attacks rightly gave pause for o⁄cial re£ection upon anti-terrorism laws,
asylum policies and transport security.
In contrast to prior crises which resulted
in legislation within short order,
there was no panic response. After all, already
forearmed with most conceivable varieties of powers under the Terrorism Act
2000, the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and the Prevention of
Terrorism Act 2005, an increasingly ‘militant democracy’ was emerging
no manifest legal gaps. However, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, issued a stark
warning on 5 August 2005 of future amendments: ‘Let no one be in any doubt,
the rules of the game are changing.’
That statement may be questioned in several respects. Onem ight deprecate the
implication that solemn legal process determining vital individual rights and
societal interests should beviewed as no moresacrosanct than a‘game’. Onemight
also comment on the agenda highlighted for reform ^ in other words, the
diminution of individual rights rather than possible intelligence and administra-
tive failings. A subsequent refusal to allow any form of inquiry into the latter
beyondthe production of a‘narrative’con¢rms the o⁄cial determination to man-
age the policy agenda.
Nevertheless, the ensuing months witnessed the delivery
Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law, University of Leeds. The author thanks the
School of Law, StanfordUniversity,for study facilities during a visiting professorship in January 2006.
1 On the latter, see House of CommonsTransport Committee, UK Transport Security (2005^06
2 For the tende ncy towards ‘panic’ legislation, see J. H. Marks,‘9/11+3/11+7/7=? What Counts in
Counterterrorism?’ (2006) 37 Columbia Human Rights L Rev 559; E. A. Posner and A. Ver-
meule,‘Emergencies and Democratic Failure’ (2006) 92 Virginia L Rev 1091.
¤(ed),Milita nt Democracy (Amsterdam:Eleven International Publishing, 2004).
4TheTimes6 August 2005,1.
5Reportof the O⁄cialAccount of the Bombingsin London on the 7thJuly2005 (2005^06 HC 1087). See also
Intelligence and Security Committee, Reporton the LondonTerrorist Attackson 7 July 2005 (Cm 6785,
London, 2005). A review of the capacity and resources of the security services has also been
ordered:The Guardian, 29 September 2006, 1.
r2007 The Author.Journal Compilation r2007 The Modern Law ReviewLimited.
Published by BlackwellPublishing, 9600 Garsington Road,Oxford OX4 2DQ,UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA
(2007) 70(3)MLR 427^457