The Independent Reviewer writes …


Max Hill QC

Welcome to the website of the UK Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. I am proud to take over from my distinguished and rightly celebrated predecessor, David Anderson QC. Where he led the way in engaging with all sides in national and international discussion about terrorism and national security, so I hope to follow and to build upon David’s excellent work.

Read more…

Features

I leave the post of IRTL at the end of the month to make way for the very well-regarded¬†Max Hill QC, who was interviewed yesterday in the Evening Standard.¬† My last public engagement in the role will be oral evidence given on Tuesday to¬†Parliament’s Brexit Committee, on the theme of security cooperation and data-sharing,¬†for its¬†inquiry into the UK’s negotiating objectives ¬†for withdrawal from the EU.

I had hoped and expected that my final report, on Deportation with Assurances, would have been published and laid before Parliament by now.  Hopefully this will be achieved within a few days.  Watch this space.

There have been quite a few retrospective pieces for media over the past few weeks: a selection is here.

Podcast of interview with Joshua Rozenberg for Law in Action, November 2016

Webcast interview with Sally Bundock for the International Bar Association, November 2016

Asian Network Big Debate, with Shazia Awan, Feb 2017

Opinion piece for the Evening Standard on Prevent, Feb 2017

Interview with Sam Macrory for Prospect, Feb 2017

Profile by Peter Oborne for Middle East Eye, Feb 2017

Peston on Sunday, Feb 2017 (clip)

Lecture to RUSI (with a historical element) on terrorism, cohesion and national security, Feb 2017

A fuller account of my views on the anti-terrorism laws that are the principal focus of my reporting function is in my last annual report, published in December 2016.

It is¬†obviously¬†desirable¬†to find ways of¬†deterring¬†people from being drawn into terrorism, of whatever kind.¬†¬†But¬†how best to go about it¬†has long been¬†a matter of controversy.¬†¬†¬†The Evening Standard published¬†on 15 February¬†an op-ed from me¬†on Prevent,¬†with an accompanying article (which led the front page) and the paper’s own comment.

As I have always made clear (and regretted) there is no independent reviewer of Prevent. I’m not privy to the Government’s¬†classified thinking on the subject.¬† But a variety of reactions to Prevent are pressed on me as I travel around the country to talk about counter-terrorism, and since September 2015 I have been transmitting to a wider audience the concerns about the¬†operation of Prevent¬†that I have picked up from Muslims in particular.¬† Last year, as well as¬†listening to the preoccupations of many different¬†communities,¬†I was invited by local groups to see¬†privately the kind of work being done under Prevent, and to¬†give evidence on my impressions of the strategy to¬†Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights and Home Affairs Select Committee.

My op-ed reflects all these experiences, and suggests some changes that could help generate trust.  For me, a good starting point would be more transparency and better engagement, as I said on Peston on Sunday. Others will have different views.  In any event, the power of decision now rests with the Government, which is currently reviewing the CONTEST strategy (including Prevent).

(amended 19 February)

This is not the place for a definitive treatise on the complex subject of UK intelligence cooperation with regimes that may practice torture.  But because the subject is in the news, I link here to some relevant sources.

Not just a UK-US issue

Recent suggestions of possible change to US policy make topical a¬†subject that already crops up routinely and in many other contexts.¬† Overseas intelligence work depends heavily on cooperation with foreign governments or “liaison partners”, not all of which have an unblemished reputation where torture is concerned.¬† So whatever the US may or may not decide over the coming weeks, great care¬†will continue to have¬†to be exercised to ensure that UK security and intelligence agencies dos not participate in, or encourage, torture or inhuman and degrading treatment practised by foreign governments. Read more…

Reports

Evidence

A House of Commons Public Bill Committee has been set up in order to give detailed scrutiny to the Investigatory Powers Bill that was unveiled on 1 March 2016 and given its second reading on 15 March.  A good deal of written evidence to that committee was published last week.

I was the first witness to be examined by the Public Bill Committee, on 24 March 2016.¬†¬†A¬† transcript of my 25-minute evidence has been published on the Committee’s website, and¬†most of it is captured on¬†video.

Later on 24 March, I submitted written evidence to the Public Bill Committee in order to¬†expand¬†upon some of the points touched on in my oral evidence and to raise some new points.¬† That written evidence is published here for the first time. Read more…

Speeches

I leave the post of IRTL at the end of the month to make way for the very well-regarded¬†Max Hill QC, who was interviewed yesterday in the Evening Standard.¬† My last public engagement in the role will be oral evidence given on Tuesday to¬†Parliament’s Brexit Committee, on the theme of security cooperation and data-sharing,¬†for its¬†inquiry into the UK’s negotiating objectives ¬†for withdrawal from the EU.

I had hoped and expected that my final report, on Deportation with Assurances, would have been published and laid before Parliament by now.  Hopefully this will be achieved within a few days.  Watch this space.

There have been quite a few retrospective pieces for media over the past few weeks: a selection is here.

Podcast of interview with Joshua Rozenberg for Law in Action, November 2016

Webcast interview with Sally Bundock for the International Bar Association, November 2016

Asian Network Big Debate, with Shazia Awan, Feb 2017

Opinion piece for the Evening Standard on Prevent, Feb 2017

Interview with Sam Macrory for Prospect, Feb 2017

Profile by Peter Oborne for Middle East Eye, Feb 2017

Peston on Sunday, Feb 2017 (clip)

Lecture to RUSI (with a historical element) on terrorism, cohesion and national security, Feb 2017

A fuller account of my views on the anti-terrorism laws that are the principal focus of my reporting function is in my last annual report, published in December 2016.