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Counter Terrorism - LAW00027M

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Joanna Gilmore
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module explores a range of issues relating to counter-terrorism law, policy and practice. It focuses primarily on UK counter-terrorism but examines those issues in historical, theoretical and international settings.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

The aim of this module is to develop knowledge and understanding of counter-terrorism law, policy and practice, locating legal measures in historical and international comparative contexts, and through inter-disciplinary perspectives.

The module will consider problems associated with conceptualising terrorism at domestic and international levels, and with the scope and limits of laws that are specifically directed at terrorism, considering issues such as the ways that these are consistent with or depart from established traditions or criminal and civil justice, or the ways that they sit within different models of counter-terrorism including criminal justice and military-led responses to political violence.

A number of (often contentious) domestic counter-terrorism policies and executive measures will be considered in detail. These may include issues such as: Operation Kratos (shoot-to-kill), or other major operations; the Prevent strategy and the wider CONTEST strategy; the ways that British counter-terrorism law and policy in Northern Ireland has shaped UK responses to terrorism since 9/11; criminalisation of activities before any act of violence occurs; the ways that the activities of suspects may be controlled or limited without any offence having been committed; the use of immigration and financial laws in counter-terrorism; incursions on traditions of open justice and natural justice in the court process; mechanisms that seek to ensure accountability of and to the different branches of government; the global 'War on Terror'; the concept of state terrorism; the successes and failures of counter-terrorism strategies; and the impact of counter-terrorism measures on human rights and civil liberties.

The module covers the legal framework of counter-terrorism, as well as giving you opportunities to develop your practical and analytical skills through debate and discussion. We will consider counter-terrorism in its social and political context and be presented with real life experiences of counter-terrorism practice. We will attempt to make sense of the rapidly changing domestic and international counter-terrorism context and engage in contemporary political and theoretical debates in the area.

Module learning outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module, you should be able to demonstrate

  1. a depth of knowledge and critical understanding of the different ways that legal measures have been used in attempts to counter-terrorism, with an appreciation of the substance of those measures as well as a selection of the contexts (eg, theoretical, historical, comparative) in which different measures sit;
  2. an ability to use and apply that knowledge and critical understanding to counter-terrorism law, policy and practice;
  3. the development and use of oral presentation skills and an ability to engage in contemporary debates in the area;
  4. an ability to reflect upon and critically evaluate counter-terrorism law, policy and practice and the development of your skills.

Module content

For further information about the module content or the syllabus, contact the module convenor.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The module is taught through two-hour workshops. Workshops serve as a forum for you to develop and exchange your ideas, learn from each other and explore issues in preparation for assessment. The last few minutes of each workshop will be devoted to feedback.

Indicative reading

There is not a core text for this module, but some useful texts are set out below. Journal articles will be available via the module reading list on the Yorkshare VLE and you will receive additional instructions about essential reading for workshops.

Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism (Irwin Law 2015).

Genevieve Lennon and Clive Walker (eds) Routledge Handbook of Law and Terrorism (Routledge 2015).

Andrew Lynch, Nicola McGarrity and George Williams, Inside Australia’s Anti-Terrorism Laws and Trials (NewSouth 2015).

Kent Roach, The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter-Terrorism (Cambridge University Press 2011).

Clive Walker, Blackstone’s Guide to the Anti-Terrorism Legislation (2nd edn, Oxford University Press 2009).

The web site of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation:

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.