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The Constitution of the Criminal Law$
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R.A. Duff, Lindsay Farmer, S.E. Marshall, Massimo Renzo, and Victor Tadros

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673872.001.0001

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Terrorism and the Criminal Law

Terrorism and the Criminal Law

(p.185) 9 Terrorism and the Criminal Law
The Constitution of the Criminal Law

C.A.J. Coady

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the questions of how terrorism should be understood for the purposes of the criminal law and of how terrorists should be dealt with by the criminal justice system. Terrorist acts are defined as violent attacks upon non-combatants (or their property) by groups or their representatives who launch the attacks for political purposes. This tactical definition (one that takes as the distinctive feature of terrorism its specific tactic of targeting innocents) is then employed to criticize the UK Terrorism Act 2000, which relies instead on a political notion of terrorism (one that focuses exclusively on the politically motivated nature of terrorist acts). More generally, the chapter criticizes the approach to terrorism that underlies this and other similar statutes — an approach that normally involves granting excessive powers to police and other state agents, and a resort to the use of legislation which is motivated by widespread anxiety, but lacks any justification as a way of preventing and responding to the threat of terrorism.

Keywords:   terrorists, English law, UK Terrorism Act 2000, police powers, criminal justice system

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