Max Hill, a lawyer who appeared in the inquest into the 7/7 bombings, and successfully prosecuted the men who attempted to carry out another terror attack two weeks later, has been appointed as the government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.
The Reviewer produces an annual report on the implementation of the UK’s different pieces of terror legislation, as well as ad hoc reports on other topics such as the use of bulk powers to allow for mass surveillance in counter terror work.
He also monitors conditions of people detained for more than 48 hours under the Terrorism Act 2000, and is one of the people who visits places of detention in the UK to prevent torture or cruel treatment.
Hill takes over from David Anderson, who has held the post since 2011.
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In his last annual report on terrorism laws, published in December 2016, Anderson concluded: “The overall picture is of appropriately strong laws, responsibly implemented, less intrusive than six years ago and with a good recent record of surviving challenge against European human rights standards.”
But the outgoing watchdog warned that trust in Britain's terror laws "needs to be continually earned". He added: "Threats to our liberties can come at any time, and continued vigilance will be needed in the future.”
Anderson has also been outspoken in his criticism of government’s counter-extremist strategy, Prevent.
Announcing Hill’s appointment, home secretary Amber Rudd said: “With the threat from terrorism continuing to evolve and diversify, it is vital we have robust oversight to ensure our counter-terrorism laws are fair, necessary and proportionate. Mr Hill brings a wealth of experience and legal expertise to help deliver this.”
Hill said: “I am very pleased to have this opportunity, which comes at a time of heightened concern about the risk from terrorism which we all face in the UK.
“As a practising barrister with experience in both counter-terrorism and the rights of citizens facing allegations of serious crime, I look forward to working with participants at all levels and from all sides.”
Hill, who has been a QC for nine years and has experience defending and prosecuting in homicide, terrorism, violent crime and corporate crime cases, is set to take up post in March 1.