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Lessening or restriction of the authority, strength, or power of a law, right, or obligation. Specifically:

1 (in the European Convention on Human Rights) A provision that enables a signatory state to avoid the obligations of some but not all of the substantive provisions of the rest of the Convention in time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation (Article 15).

Following the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001 and the passing of the Antiterrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, the UK government derogated from Article 5 of the Convention. This derogation was necessary because that Act allowed the detention by the Secretary of State of certain foreign nationals on the basis that they were suspected of involvement in terrorism. That provision was declared to be in breach of the Convention by the House of Lords in December 2004 (A v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] UKHL 56, [2005] 2 AC 68) and abandoned in March 2005.

2 (in EU law) An exemption clause that permits a member state of the EU to avoid a certain directive or regulation. Sometimes member states are allowed a longer than normal time to implement an EU directive.

Subjects: Law.

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