David Anderson QC, the UK independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, has published his report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts in 2015 (link here). The sections on proscribed organisations are relevant to this blog but the report covers wide-ranging interesting material on the Terrorism Acts.
The report says 3 new organisations have been proscribed since 2015 after the usual “perfunctory debate” (which David Anderson makes suggestions to improve).
David Anderson reiterates his repeated criticisms of the deproscription process for proscribed organisations, in particular that the continued proscription of groups which do not or no longer satisfy the statutory test that they are currently concerned in terrorism is contrary to the rule of law (see previous blog). He again proposes that proscription orders should automatically lapse after a period of time and only be renewed if there is sufficient evidence (as with terrorist asset-freezing) or that the statutory test is amended.
The report notes that organisations without the financial means to challenge their listings may remain proscribed long after they no longer satisfy the test for proscription, which includes some of the “up to 14” currently proscribed organisations in respect of which the Home Office has accepted that the test is not satisfied. Given that the only route is to make a deproscription application, David Anderson makes recommendations as to how those should be handled (prompt responses, full reasons, deproscription if the test is not met, the Government being prepared to defend its case if the case goes to POAC), none of which were followed in the ISYF case (see previous blog). He repeats the critical comments of the Court of Appeal on decision-making in this area, and comments: “the Home Office ignores the measured criticism of senior judges at its peril”.