Terrorism and National Security


Doughty Street Chambers is the premier set for the representation of defendants charged with grave terrorist offences, or in connection with terrorist incidents. We are often the first port of call for solicitors dealing with these grave allegations.


From the many Islamic and Jihadi terrorist trials of recent years, to the recent resurgence of the Real IRA in the North of  Ireland, members of our criminal team have been at the forefront of those chosen to defend. From the Angry Brigades in the 60’s, the IRA trials of the 70’s, the Birmingham 6 and Guildford bombings in 80’s and 90’s, through to the 7/7 and 21/7 bombing trials and the celebrated transatlantic airline plots of the last decade, our silks have an extraordinary and unprecedented breadth and depth of experience, stretching back over many years, both in first instance trials and before the Court of Appeal.  Junior members of the team have significant experience in all the many and varied legal, religious and strategic complexities raised by this area of work.


Silks and juniors will willingly provide advice pre-charge, and on post charge questioning. Chambers also provides advice and representation in all other areas raised by terrorist legislation, including control orders and the seizure and freezing of assets.


National Security 

Since 1997 closed material has been used in a narrow but expanding range of proceedings where the government states that there is a risk to national security from the disclosure of relevant information. These include deportation appeals in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), challenges to the use of investigatory powers in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), proceedings in the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission (POAC), employment appeals, and more recently proceedings in the High Court relating to control orders, financial sanctions and TPIMs.


The use of closed material in court proceedings is set to expand significantly in the light of the Justice and Security Act which came into force on 25 April 2013. The implementation of that Act, particularly in civil claims for damages, will raise important issues of constitutional and human rights law, as well as numerous difficult practical questions.


Chambers has a significant number of practitioners with detailed experience of litigating in courts and tribunals where the government seeks to rely on closed material. That experience includes:

  • Challenges to the legality of the attempt to rely on closed material both at common law and under the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • Challenges to attempts to divert proceedings from the High Court into closed tribunals such as the IPT.
  • Representing individuals in deportation appeals, bail applications, control order proceedings and TPIMs where closed material is relied on.
  • Representing family members and others in inquests where sensitive material is deployed.
  • Acting as Special Advocates.


In addition several of Chambers’ senior criminal and extradition practitioners have extensive experience in the most serious terrorist criminal and extradition cases. Members of Chambers’ international law team, meanwhile, have experience in the investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences at an international level.



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