Guantánamo Bay: Towards Legality?

23 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2008

See all articles by Fiona de Londras

Fiona de Londras

Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK


This article outlines the US Supreme Court's approach to the habeas corpus entitlements of suspected terrorists detained in Guantánamo Bay and argues for the extension of constitutional habeas corpus rights to them. The article considers two ways in which the Supreme Court might carry out this task: first, the 'territorial approach' (based on domestic legal principles of 'unincorporated territories' and principles of leasehold), and secondly, the 'extraterritorial approach' (based on international purposive approaches to the reach of human rights treaties exemplified by the European Court of Human Rights' Article 1 jurisprudence). For reasons of effectiveness of protection, the Article expresses a clear preference for the latter. The House of Lords decision in R (Al-Skeini) v Secretary of State for Defence (2007) is proposed as a template for such a development. Finally the article refutes arguments rejecting such a development based on the trade-off thesis and perceptions of judicial competence.

Suggested Citation

de Londras, Fiona, Guantánamo Bay: Towards Legality?. Modern Law Review, Vol. 71, No. 1, pp. 36-58, January 2008. Available at SSRN: or

Fiona De Londras (Contact Author)

Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK ( email )

Birmingham, AL B15 2TT
United Kingdom


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