Here’s the text of the judgment.
Curiously, not a day after the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, was forced to retire for other reasons, this was a thumbs-down vote on his policies.
It’s a really important decision where nine law lords sit (by the way, they don’t wear robes or wigs, and there was a majority of eight to one. The full name of the court is the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords.
I wanted to see what the German papers did with it, but there is little available. The topic was promptly reported by the wonderful German weblog on human rights, Menschenrechte, which quoted an Austrian source.
From the Independent report:
bq. Lord Hoffmann, one of the panel of nine law lords, said: “[This case] calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has until now been very proud: freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.”
bq. In response to government arguments that the anti-terrorism Act was necessary to protect the life of the nation, Lord Hoffmann said: “The real threat to the life of the nation … comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.
bq. “That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.”
bq. Baroness Hale said that the law was clearly discriminatory: “Substitute ‘black’, ‘disabled’, ‘female’, ‘gay’, … and ask whether it would be justifiable to … lock up that group but not the ‘white’, ‘able-bodied’, ‘male’ or ‘straight’ suspected international terrorists. The answer is clear.” After being told of the ruling, detainee “A”, who is being held in Woodhill Prison, Buckinghamshire, said: “This ruling should send a message to the legislators that ‘national security’ can never take precedence over human rights.”