Documents to download

The purpose of the bill, as described by the UK Government, is to ensure that terrorist offenders are not automatically released on licence before the end of their custodial term without the Parole Board’s prior agreement. Recent terrorist attacks in the UK, including the Streatham attack on 2 February 2020 and the Fishmongers’ Hall attack on 30 November 2019, were committed by individuals who had previously been convicted of terrorist offences and had been released from prison automatically at the half-way point. 

The bill would mean that anyone who receives a standard determinate sentence for certain terrorist offences would spend a minimum of two–thirds of their custodial term in prison before being referred to the Parole Board for consideration. A standard determinate sentence requires a person to serve the first half of the sentence in prison and the second half on licence. For offences committed after 1 February 2015, offenders sentenced to less than two years will also be subject to post sentence supervision. The bill would also apply retrospectively to those who are already in prison and serving a custodial sentence. 

The Government believes that legislation is “urgently” needed to safeguard the public before further terrorist offenders are released. The next such prisoners are scheduled for automatic release at the end of February 2020. The Government intends to expedite the parliamentary progress of the bill to make it law before their release. 

The Government introduced the bill in the House of Commons on 11 February 2020. During the bill’s second reading, MPs raised several issues. These included the bill’s compliance with article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the fast-tracking of the bill through the parliamentary process, and implications for resources. Some have argued that the bill may be subject to legal challenges in court.

The bill completed all stages in the House of Commons on 12 February 2020. It passed with no amendments following its third reading.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ and threats facing the UK

    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) published the command paper ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ on 22 March 2021, setting out how the UK’s defence capabilities will support the Government’s integrated review of security, defence, development, and foreign policy. The command paper contained a range of measures, including how the UK will respond to current and future threats. This article summarises those provisions ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords on these issues.

    ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ and threats facing the UK
  • Assisted Dying Bill [HL]

    This private member’s bill would create a legal framework to allow a terminally ill patient to end their life, provided they have the consent of two medical practitioners. The High Court would also have to provide consent. The form of death would be prescribed, self-administered life-ending drugs. The bill is scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 22 October 2021.

    Assisted Dying Bill [HL]
  • Covert human intelligence sources: criminal conduct

    Covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) have been used for decades to prevent or secure prosecutions for serious crimes, such as terrorism and human trafficking. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 provided statutory powers to organisations, such as the intelligence agencies and law enforcement bodies, to authorise criminal activity by CHIS. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Criminal Conduct Authorisations) (Amendment) Order 2021 makes some necessary changes to existing legislation.

    Covert human intelligence sources: criminal conduct