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Notification under Counter Terrorism Act 2008

by Andrew Morris
19 July 2017

Andrew Morris, higher court advocate at ITN Solicitors, discusses notification requirements under the CTA 2008.

Part 4 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 sets out detailed notification requirements for those over the age of 16 who are convicted of certain terrorism offences. The legislation has some similarities to registration under Part 2 Sexual Offences Act 2003, but with additional layers. In particular, the Act sets out a number of measures which require offenders to re-register annually. They are also required to register their foreign travel. The detail of the notification reflects the seriousness of many of the terrorism offences to which it applies.

When representing a defendant charged with the relevant offences, it is useful to have in mind the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 (Foreign Travel Requirement Regulations), in force since September 2009. These regulations impose requirements to notify travel outside the United Kingdom of at least three days. The notification must be done before departure [before at least seven days in certain circumstances] and includes details of where the person is travelling to, what carrier they will use, and their departure and return dates.

Section 41 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 [Part 4] sets out the offences to which the notification requirements apply. They encapsulate most of the more common charges that appear before the Crown Courts, including section 5 [preparatory acts] and section 2 [dissemination of terrorist material] under the Terrorism Act 2006. Notification also applies to offences which have been deemed to have a terrorist connection, as defined by section 30 of the Act. A List of the offences which may be so deemed is found in schedule 2.

The notification requirements apply depending on the length of any custodial or youth sentence that has been passed. They apply even if the defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity or has been found to have committed the actus reus of the offence. The details required to be initially notified include obvious matters such as name, national insurance number and address. The notification of address includes any place where the person regularly resides (47(2)(g). Notification must also be made for any change of name or address, or if the person stays at any other address for more than seven days (48(3)). Under section 49, the person must re-register this information on an annual basis. The registration must take place within three days of sentencing or release from custody after serving a sentence of imprisonment.

The police have the power to take photographs and fingerprints in order to establish identity during any notification procedure, whether that is the initial notification or the notification of changes [50(6)].

The periods of notification prescribed in Section 53 are [for those aged 18 and over] 30 years for life sentences, detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure and for custodial sentences of 10 years or more. For sentences between five and 10 years, the notification period is 15 years. For those aged between 16 and 18, and for all other custodial sentences, the maximum period of notification is 10 years.


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