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United Kingdom: Anti-Terrorism Detention Provisions Called Into Question

(Jan. 26, 2010) The United Kingdom's rocky road with its anti-terrorism legislation has continued with the High Court ruling that in the case of two individuals subject to “control orders” – orders that impose conditions similar to house arrest aimed at disrupting and preventing terrorist activity – could claim compensation as the control orders had breached their human rights by restricting their movements. The judge also quashed the control orders, although the Home Secretary had previously revoked these orders as a result of a case brought by the two men in 2009 in which they successfully argued that the use of secret evidence to get the courts to impose and maintain the control orders was contrary to their human rights. The Judge did note that any compensation paid would be small and that his ruling did not mean that they would automatically succeed. Within an hour of the judgment, the Home Secretary stated that he was going to appeal the judgment and that “[t]he Government argued strongly that these control orders were properly made for the purpose of protecting the public and that they should not be retrospectively quashed. … We will resist strongly paying damages to former subjects of control orders.” (Secretary of State for the Home Department v. AF and AE, [2010] EWHC 42 (Admin), available at; Richard Ford, Terror Suspects Can Claim Damages, Judge Rules, TIMES (London) Jan. 19, 2010, available at