As a consequence of the recent terrorist attacks, an increase in the severity of the anti-terror statutes is being discussed in Germany. What is being considered in this country is already, to a certain extent, law in the United Kingdom. This study provides an overview and analysis of British legislation, focusing on the measures that illustrate the ubiquitous conflict between freedom and security in the fight against terrorism.

The ter­ror­ist at­tacks in New York, Mad­rid, and Lon­don have amp­li­fied the calls for in­creased se­cur­ity, great­er pun­ish­ment, and pre­vent­ive meas­ures in Ger­many and oth­er coun­tries. Laws in­creas­ing the pun­ish­ment for crimes that have already been com­mit­ted ap­pear largely un­con­tro­ver­sial among politi­cians. The ques­tion as to the bal­an­cing of free­dom and se­cur­ity be­comes more in­ter­est­ing, however, as it per­tains to the dis­cus­sion of the treat­ment of po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous per­sons and of spe­cial, pre­vent­ive meas­ures to fight ter­ror­ism. Sat­is­fac­tion of the de­sire for se­cur­ity en­tails risks det­ri­ment­al to the right to per­son­al liberty as guar­an­teed to every cit­izen by na­tion­al con­sti­tu­tion­al law as well as by in­ter­na­tion­al in­stru­ments such as the European Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights. In Ger­many, while plans to com­bat ter­ror­ism by means of on­line searches, pre­vent­ive sur­veil­lance meas­ures, and pre­vent­ive de­ten­tion have been in­tro­duced in­to the polit­ic­al de­bate, they have as yet only been im­ple­men­ted to a very lim­ited de­gree – in part due to con­sti­tu­tion­al con­cerns.

What would hap­pen if the con­tinu­ing de­mands for more se­cur­ity in Ger­many ac­tu­ally be­came law? How would per­son­al liber­ties be af­fected if the pur­suit of se­cur­ity were to be­come the highest pri­or­ity? A pos­sible an­swer to these ques­tions can be found in the cur­rent Brit­ish anti-ter­ror le­gis­la­tion and its ap­plic­a­tion in prac­tice. In polit­ic­al dis­cus­sions as well as in the Ger­man aca­dem­ic lit­er­at­ure, Brit­ish le­gis­la­tion has largely been ig­nored, even though it con­sti­tutes a note­worthy ex­ample of a pos­sible means of resolv­ing the con­flict between se­cur­ity and free­dom.

The sub­ject of this doc­tor­al dis­ser­ta­tion is the ter­ror­ism le­gis­la­tion of the United King­dom en­acted since 2000. The pro­ject will provide an over­view of the most im­port­ant pro­vi­sions. The fo­cus is on the present­a­tion and ana­lys­is of in­ter­ven­tions in­to the free­dom of move­ment, which will be ana­lyzed in light of the European Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights and the case law of the European Court of Hu­man Rights. The goal is to provide an an­swer to the ques­tion of wheth­er in­ter­ven­tions in in­di­vidu­al liberty as provided for by the Brit­ish anti-ter­ror le­gis­la­tion are con­sist­ent with na­tion­al and European guar­anties of ba­sic rights and wheth­er they are jus­ti­fi­able. As a con­tinu­ation of the ex­am­in­a­tion of con­form­ity with ba­sic rights, the ques­tions of wheth­er par­al­lel de­vel­op­ments can be as­cer­tained between Ger­many and the United King­dom and wheth­er the re­form pro­pos­als for deal­ing with the con­flict between free­dom and se­cur­ity are ex­em­plary or du­bi­ous are con­sidered and sub­jec­ted to a leg­al-polit­ic­al eval­u­ation.

The meth­od­o­logy in­volves a study of the Brit­ish stat­utes them­selves as well as of the cor­res­pond­ing le­gis­lat­ive ma­ter­i­als. In ad­di­tion, the rel­ev­ant aca­dem­ic lit­er­at­ure will be eval­u­ated, and the case law of the Brit­ish courts and of the European Court of Hu­man Rights will be ana­lyzed and sub­jec­ted to leg­al eval­u­ation. For the leg­al-polit­ic­al eval­u­ation, the de­vel­op­ments in Ger­many will also be taken in­to con­sid­er­a­tion.

To date, the study shows that the Brit­ish le­gis­la­tion gives the fa­cets of se­cur­ity and pre­ven­tion the highest pri­or­ity. From a hu­man rights per­spect­ive, this is prob­lem­at­ic be­cause ter­ror­ist sus­pects could be sub­ject to massive re­stric­tions on their daily lives by the so-called con­trol or­ders and in in­di­vidu­al cases, people’s rights to per­son­al liberty have in­deed been in­fringed upon. The Brit­ish anti-ter­ror le­gis­la­tion does not re­solve the con­flict between free­dom and se­cur­ity in a sat­is­fact­ory man­ner be­cause it fa­cil­it­ates very in­vas­ive meas­ures whose re­con­cil­ab­il­ity with the European Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights is highly ques­tion­able.