Page last updated at 08:04 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 09:04 UK

Legal threat over detentions bill

Armed police
Tories, Lib Dems and some Labour MPs oppose the bill

Plans to extend the limit on detaining terror suspects without charge to 42 days could face an Equality and Human Rights Commission court challenge.

They say plans to increase the limit from 28 days could contravene the law.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says it is the commission's job "to challenge and scrutinise", but said Parliament should have its say before any court case.

She added that her plan was intended to safeguard the "most fundamental right" - not to be a victim of terrorism.

The Home Office said it had consulted to win as much consensus as possible.

Legal principles

Ministers have come up against strong opposition from Tories, Lib Dems and some Labour MPs over terror detentions.

The commission says the proposed law could contravene race equality legislation, as it is being established to deal with a particular religious and racial minority.

It told MPs in a briefing note: "If adopted, we may seek to use our legal powers to challenge the lawfulness of the provisions and establish clear legal principles on the use of pre-trial detention."

The watchdog says the provisions set out by the Home Office are unlikely to meet threshold tests of public interest, justification or fairness.



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific