In 2011 Cambridge University Press published my monograph, entitled Detention in the ‘War on Terror’: Can Human Rights Fight Back? The book has now been rereleased in paperback form, at a very reasonable £23.99.
While much of the law has changed since the book was published in 2011, in my view the three core elements of the argument that I outlined in this book remain viable. These are:
- In times of terroristic crisis a space rich with the potential for repressive laws targeting the liberties of perceived risk bearers is opened up by a combination of ‘top down’ (or ‘moral’) panic perpetuated by moral and norm entrepreneurs such as politicians and security services and a ‘bottom up’ (or ‘popular’) panic emanating from a popular sense of risk and vulnerability and demand for ‘security’. (Primarily Chapter 1)
- In spite of hegemonic efforts by the US & UK to undermine the right to review of the lawfulness of one’s detention, this right remains resilient on the international law, arguably even having been strengthened in recent years. Thus, the international right arguably fares better than domestic rights protections in at least some respects. This can be partially explained by what I term ‘insulating factors’ that distance and, consequently, protect the international right from the convergence of top-down and bottom-up panic experienced in domestic systems. (Primarily Chapter 5)
- One way in which the international resilience of the right has impacted on rights protection at domestic level, notwithstanding the panic outlined above, is by its refraction through the courts into domestic jurisprudence, so that counter-terrorism judicial review has been relatively more robust and less deferential than experienced in previous circumstances of terroristic/violent crisis and than might have been expected. (Primarily Chapter 6)
In the meantime I have nuanced my arguments to some extent. For example, I have more fully explored what I described in the book as a ‘realist footnote’ of international adjudication tending to undermine some of the core elements of the right to be free from arbitrary detention (in Saul (ed), Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism), and identified courts’ involvement in ‘regulatory constitutionalism’ (in Davis & de Londras, Critical Debates on Counter-Terrorism Judicial Review).
Detention in the ‘War on Terror’ is still assigned on reading lists for both undergraduate and graduate courses (esp. Chapters 1 and 5) and so I hope the release in paperback will make it more affordable for, and accessible to, students working in the area.