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To what extent should civil liberties be upheld in the times of terrorism? Free essay! Download now

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To what extent should civil liberties be upheld in the times of terrorism?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1175 | Submitted: 13-Nov-2008
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It simply involves the different elements of civil liberties which require consideration and offers a very good understanding of the question which needed addressing.


The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (PTA 2005), the Terrorism Act 2006 (TA 2006) and the former acts which contend with terrorism are laws created by our legislative bodies during the recent years which can result in the interference of civil liberties. Control orders, which are contained under s1 (1) of the PTA 2005 enable the Home Secretary to compel an unlimited number of limitations on any person whom he suspects of being involved in terrorist activities. Control orders can amount to house arrests, restrictions of an individuals associations and communications. The presumption of innocence is undermined, so someone can be punished without any real proof provided of the crime being perpetrated. The right to a fair trial which is also a basic right given is ignored and the separation of powers are also considered to have been belittled. Article 5,8,10 and 11 of the ECHR are all infringed by the use of control orders.

The European Convention states the rights and freedoms of individuals and seeks to ensure that these rights are enjoyed by each individual and also protected by the state and the legal system. As much as these rights are considered extremely significant, in normal everyday circumstances they are not supreme. Consequently; the rights provided in the ECHR can be infringed when the law clearly prescribes it. Article 5 of the ECHR is very important in regards to civil liberties as it allows for a fair trial, as well as the liberty and security of a person. The terrorism acts clearly violate this act; however; as the interference is legitimate and in accordance with the law then it can be justified.

Former to the existence of the HRA 1998, civil liberties and Human Rights were protected by the courts and principles which derived from court cases. An example of the courts upholding the civil liberties and human rights of an individual is revealed in the case of Entick v Carrington. The case of Entick is relevant in regards to civil liberties due to the notion which derived from it stating that the country was not above the law. The courts ensured justice for the concerned individual even though it meant that this would not be in favour of the rulers of the state.

Another way in which the courts do contend against unreasonable infringement of human rights is during the interpretation of law and with the assumption made that parliament did not intend to violate basic rights when passing and creating certain legislations. Although parliament has created laws which contravene citizens rights, these laws are only in place in order to fight terrorism and for the public to continue living and to prevent the loss of more lives due to terrorism.

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