UK: The Prevention of Terrorism Bill as amended by the House of Lords 7 March 2005

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Update: The House of Lords votes by 297 votes to 110 - a majority of 187 to introduce a "sunset clause" - that is, the Bill ceases to have effect after 30 November 2005. Lords amendments as agreed and passed by to the House of Commons on 9 March 2005 (link)

The Bill seeks to introduce "control orders" on those "suspected" of terrorist-related activity. The House of Lords voted to amend the Bill so that all control orders have to be decided by a judge (and not the Home Secretary) by 249 votes to 119, a majority of 130. They also voted to make control orders dependent on the "balance of probabilities" rather than reasonable suspicion - though this is still a much lower standard than the normal beyond reasonable doubt. As amended it still includes a new offence of "encouragement" or intention to "encourage" specific acts or terrorism in general and will still mean the defendant will not know the evidence against them (see analysis below).

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