Parliament, Human Rights, and Counter-Terrorism

Adam Tomkins

in The Legal Protection of Human Rights

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606078
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729720 | DOI:
Parliament, Human Rights, and Counter-Terrorism

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This chapter contributes to the debate between legal constitutionalists and political constitutionalists. It is in three parts. The first summarizes the leading UK case law on rights, liberty, and security since the Belmarsh decision. Arguing that Belmarsh already looks like an exception rather than a new beginning in public law, it outlines the illiberal nature of a range of decisions. Secondly, this case law is used to challenge the workability/desirability of David Dyzenhaus's model of rule-of-law protection in times of crisis. Thirdly, the chapter examines Parliament's recent record at scrutinizing various government claims as to what it is necessary to do in the interests of national security, focussing on the debate of the Terrorism Act 2006, and the role of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. This is used to show that that a weak judicial decision that legitimates an illiberal policy is used by governments to shut down political debates, and also that Parliament is an agency through which rights can be better protected even in this most difficult area of national and international concern.

Keywords: national security; UK Human Rights Act; Belmarsh; parliamentary scrutiny; Joint Committee on Human Rights; UK Terrorism Act; Counter-terrorism Act

Chapter.  14341 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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