Secretary of State for the Home Department v Lord Alton of Liverpool and others: CA 7 May 2008

The Secretary of state had sought to register an organisation as a terrorist organisation (PMOI). The organisation had successfully appealed to the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission (POAC). The secretary now renewed his application for leave to appeal. The PMO had previously been involved in violence but said that it had abandoned violence several years ago, and now condemned it.
Held: It was indeed difficult to be clear as to just what was required to prove that an organisation was ‘otherwise engaged in terrorism’, however ‘The question of whether an organisation is concerned in terrorism is essentially a question of fact. Justification of significant interference with human rights is in issue. We agree with POAC that the appropriate course was to conduct an intense and detailed scrutiny of both open and closed material in order to decide whether this amounted to reasonable grounds for the belief that PMOI was concerned in terrorism.’
The court supported POACs conclusion that ‘there is no evidence that the PMOI has at any time since 2003 sought to re-create any form of structure that was capable of carrying out or supporting terrorist acts. There is no evidence of any attempt to ‘prepare’ for terrorism. There is no evidence of any encouragement to others to commit acts of terrorism. Nor is there any material that affords any grounds for a belief that the PMOI was ‘otherwise concerned in terrorism’ at the time of the decision in September 2006. In relation to the period after May 2003, this cannot properly be described as ‘mere inactivity’ as suggested by the Secretary of State in his Decision Letter. The material showed that the entire military apparatus no longer existed whether in Iraq, Iran or elsewhere and there had been no attempt by the PMOI to re-establish it.’ Leave to appeal was refused.


Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers LCJ, Lord Justice Laws and Lady Justice Arden


[2008] EWCA Civ 443




Terrorism Act (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2001, Terrorism Act 2000 1


England and Wales

Criminal Practice, Administrative

Updated: 14 July 2022; Ref: scu.267552