The Legal Definition of 'Terrorism' in United Kingdom Law and Beyond
Public Law, pp. 331-352, 2007
Posted: 26 Jan 2008
The definition of 'terrorism' has long been controversial in legal discourse, so much so that the Government has instituted a review by Lord Carlile. Attempts to date have often resulted in vague formulations which bring charges of uncertainty and excessive police and prosecutorial discretion. In United Kingdom law, examples include police powers to arrest and stop and search, as well as offences concerning the glorification of terrorism. This paper explores how the definition has been developed in United Kingdom law, set against a background of comparable jurisdictions and international law. It advocates the 'scheduled offence in context' approach as a way of ensuring certainty and proportionality, as well as better complying with international law expectations and the overwhelming requirement for law to aid a return to normality rather than to impede it.
Keywords: terrorism, political violence, law, definition, legal definition
JEL Classification: K14, K42, K40, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation