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The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005

A system of control orders under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 has replaced the Part 4 powers under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act (new window) allows for control orders to be made against any suspected terrorist, whether a UK national or a non-UK national, or whether the  terrorist activity is international or domestic.

The Home Secretary is required to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably possible after the end of the relevant three-month period on how control order powers have been exercised during that time.

Read the Home Secretary's latest quarterly report on control orders - 22 March 2007 (new window).

Independent reviews

The facts about Control Orders

  • Control orders enable the authorities to impose conditions upon individuals ranging from prohibitions on access to specific items or services (such as the Internet), and restrictions on association with named individuals, to the imposition of restrictions on movement or curfews. A control order does not mean ‘house arrest’.
  • Specific conditions imposed under a control order are tailored to each case to ensure effective disruption and prevention of terrorist activity.
  • The Home Secretary must normally apply to the courts to impose a control order based on an assessment of the intelligence information. If the court allows the order to be made, the case will be automatically referred to the court for a judicial review of the decision.
  • In emergency cases the Home Secretary may impose a provisional order which must then be reviewed by the court within seven days. 
  • A court may consider the case in open or closed session – depending on the nature and sensitivity of the information under consideration. Special Advocates will be used to represent the interests of the controlled individuals in closed sessions.
  • Control orders will be time limited and may be imposed for a period of up to 12 months at a time.  A fresh application for renewal has to be made thereafter.
  • A control order and its conditions can be challenged.
  • Breach of any of the obligations of the control order without reasonable excuse is a criminal offence punishable with a prison sentence of up to five years and, or an unlimited fine.
  • Individuals who are subject to control order provisions have the option of applying for an anonymity order.
  • To date the Government has not sought to make a control order requiring derogation from Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

See Also

For practitioners

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