Keeping Control of Terrorists Without Losing Control of Constitutionalism

Posted: 26 Jan 2008

See all articles by Clive Walker

Clive Walker

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


The anticipatory risk of mass terrorism casualties or even the nightmare of the use of weapons of mass destruction conduces towards interventions which are preemptive or preventative. The threat of terrorism to life and liberty cannot be addressed simply by ex post facto rectification for the sake of justice. An inevitable consequence of this risk dynamic will be an intelligence-led approach, that is, governmental net-casting for information and for potential assailants on a wide and prescient scale. Several measures in U.K. law could be considered as test cases of counter-terrorism control measures. Probably the most appropriate are the eponymous control orders under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. The system imposed by the Act encompasses both operative dynamics: the imperative to respond to anticipatory risk and the need to extend action to the "neighbor" terrorist. Foremost in the inquiry will be the following questions: what circumstances gave rise to the policy of control orders; what are the main elements of the policy and how is it implemented; is it possible to maintain constitutionalism when dealing with a non-criminal justice mechanism of this kind; and, what lessons can be derived for future policy?

Keywords: terrorism, control orders, prevention, anticipatory risk, repression

JEL Classification: K14, K40, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Walker, Clive, Keeping Control of Terrorists Without Losing Control of Constitutionalism. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 59, pp. 1395-1463, 2007, Available at SSRN:

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)


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