Joint Committee On Human Rights Fifth Report

6. Letter from Rt Hon Lord Newton of Braintree, Chairman, ATCSA Review Committee, to the Chairman

Thank you for your letter of 23rd January seeking our assistance in your review of the detention provisions in Sections 21-23 of the Anti­Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

We will indeed be taking evidence from organizations and individuals, such as those that you mention, to assist us in understanding the nature of the threat, in judging the efficacy of the legislation in addressing it, and in considering the adequacy of the associated safeguards. We will also, of course, be taking close account of the views expressed in Parliament; and in that context greatly value the reports that your own Committee has already produced.

Rather than seeking to warrant that the Act's powers are not being used improperly, as you suggest we might do, our aim is to scrutinize the legislation more closely than Parliament was able to do when the Bill was passed, with a view to informing further Parliamentary consideration of the Act's provisions. So far as Part 4 in particular is concerned, we will be seeking to satisfy ourselves as to whether it is the least undesirable way of tackling the threat (and if so, whether additional safeguards are needed), or whether there may be effective preferable alternatives.

We must certainly continue to keep in touch during the course of our review, particularly on the areas of the Act that you cite.

31 January 2003

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