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Counter Terrorism Legislation: Codes of Practice

Volume 655: debated on Monday 25 February 2019

On 14 March 2018, in response to the poisoning in Salisbury of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, the Prime Minister announced a package of measures to harden our defences against hostile state activity.

As a first step, schedule 3 to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 provides for new powers to stop, question, search and detain a person at a UK port or the Northern Ireland border area for the purpose of determining whether they are, or have been, engaged in hostile activity. These provisions will serve to address a current gap in our ability to tackle the threat posed by hostile state actors and mirror in many respects the existing powers to stop and question persons at UK ports for counter-terrorism purposes.

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 also amends schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 to give effect to two recommendations of the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Lord Anderson: providing for the suspension of the examination clock while someone receives medical treatment; and including a bar on the use of oral answers given in examination in subsequent criminal proceedings.

The 2019 Act also amends schedule 7 restrictions concerning the right of a detainee to consult a solicitor (by replacing the power for a qualified officer to sit within the sight and hearing of a lawyer-client consultation in certain limited circumstances with a power allowing a senior officer, in those limited circumstances, to direct that the person consults a different lawyer); and limits the power of the state to expand an information sharing gateway in the schedule by means of regulations, constraining the expansion of this gateway to allow information to be shared only with persons that exercise public functions.

Both the Terrorism Act 2000 and the 2019 Act require the Government to consult on the provisions of the codes of practice that are provided to ports and border officers exercising these powers. I am therefore today announcing the publication of the Government’s consultation on:

the draft schedule 3 code of practice; and

draft modifications to the existing schedule 7 code of practice.

A draft of the schedule 3 code was published on 1 November 2018 to support legislative scrutiny of the Bill. There have been a number of changes to this draft to account for amendments made to schedule 3 during the Bill’s passage through the Lords. The existing schedule 7 code has also been updated to reflect the amendments made by the 2019 Act and to make the document clearer and more accessible for law enforcement practitioners.

The Government welcome comments on these documents and will consider any representations before a final version of the draft codes is laid before Parliament for approval. The consultation will last a period of six weeks beginning on Monday 25 February and ending on Friday 05 April. Representations can be submitted by e-mail to this address: and a copy of the consultation and both draft codes will be placed in the House Library and an online version will be made available at: