The Legal Definition of 'Terrorism' in United Kingdom Law and Beyond

Public Law, pp. 331-352, 2007

Posted: 26 Jan 2008

See all articles by Clive Walker

Clive Walker

University of Leeds - Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS)

Abstract

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

Walker, Clive, The Legal Definition of 'Terrorism' in United Kingdom Law and Beyond. Public Law, pp. 331-352, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1087420

Clive Walker (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom
44 (0) 113 3435022 (Phone)
44 (0) 113 3435056 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.leeds.ac.uk/people/staff/walker/

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