Terrorism Act 2000 (and 2006)

References: UK/2000/C/11 and UK/2006/C/11

The Terrorism Act 2000 makes provision about terrorism and makes temporary provision for Northern Ireland about the prosecution and punishment of certain offences, the preservation of peace and the maintenance of order. The Terrorism Act 2006 builds upon the objectives of the 2000 Act.

Certain exemptions apply to Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Domestic and international terrorism

The Terrorism Act 2000 brought together and amended previous temporary legislation which had been developed over a number of decades to deal specifically with terrorism in Northern Ireland. In doing so it established a body of permanent terrorism law which was aimed at both domestic and international terrorism. It:

  • Provides a definition of terrorism
  • Creates specific terrorist offences for:

- inciting terrorist acts

- providing instruction or training in the use of firearms, explosives or chemical, biological or nuclear weapons

- seeking or providing training for terrorist purposes at home or overseas

- money laundering and fundraising for the purposes of terrorism

  • Strengthens police powers to investigate. Providing:

- wider stop and search powers;

- the powers to arrest and detain suspects for up to 28 days (any period longer than 48 hours must be approved by a District Judge). The period was extended to 28 days by the Terrorism Act 2006. The 2000 Act had originally specified a limit of 7 days; this had previously been extended to 14 days by the Criminal Justice Act 2003

  • Creates the power to ban terrorist groups:

The act grants the Secretary of State the power to proscribe (ban) organisations involved in international and domestic terrorism and makes it illegal for them to operate in the UK. It specifically extends this to include international terrorist groups like Al Qa’ida.

Terrorism Act 2006

The Terrorism Act 2006 make provision for and about offences relating to conduct carried out, or capable of being carried out, for purposes connected with terrorism; amends enactments relating to terrorism; amends the Intelligence Services Act 1994 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

The created new offences regarding training for terrorism and the preparation of terrorist acts.

In addition, it addressed the activities of those promoting violent extremism, also termed as glorification, by making it an offence to encourage terrorism or disseminate terrorist publications.

The act extended the maximum period for which people can be detained before being charged from 14 to 28 days.

Offences under the 2000 Act

  • encouragement of terrorism, including glorification;
  • dissemination of terrorist publications;
  • notices and offences relating to internet activity;
  • preparation of terrorist acts;
  • training for terrorism and attendance at a place used for terrorist training;
  • making, possession and misuse of devices or material and damage of facilities

The act also extended the criteria for proscribing (banning) organisations to include those that glorify terrorism.

Exemptions for ISPs

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are liable for prosecution under the 2006 Act. However, The Electronic Commerce Directive (Terrorism Act 2006) Regulations 2007 provide specific exemptions for ISPs from these offences. The Regulations ensure that the key provisions of the Terrorism Act 2006 apply on a country-of-origin basis and exempt service providers from liability where they act as mere conduits, caches or hosts of information.

Supervision and enforcement

Further information