Creating a fairer Britain
The Commission recognises the duty on governments to protect public safety and accepts that circumstances might arise where specific measures are required to address the threat to public safety.
The Commission welcomes the previous stated intention of the Government to ensure that counter terrorism powers are necessary, effective and proportionate and meet the UKs international and domestic human rights obligations
The Commission welcomes the improvements made to the Bill during its passage through the Lords, in particular the clarification of the appellate role of the court.
The Commission would wish to see the necessary fair trial processes be fully applied to individual cases. This includes access to funding for legal representation and sufficient access to secret evidence to enable the applicant to effectively instruct their special advocate to challenge such evidence. The Commission believes the legislation could then be compatible with the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the Convention.
Counsel advice sought by the Commission states:
"In our opinion, while the essential thrust of the Bill’s aim to achieve close (indeed absolute) control of the financial lives of those who are in fact engaged in terrorism or terrorist-related activity is proportionate and therefore compatible with the requirements of ECHR, the concerns highlighted by the EHRC do raise a serious question as to whether the Bill in its current form does comply with the requirements of Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention.”