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Transnational Counter-Terrorism: The Urgent Need for Constitutionalist Attention

Senior Common Room - Law Building
Arts and Law, Research
Wednesday 21st November 2018 (13:00-14:00)
Photo of the University Crest
  • BLS Research Seminar 
  • Professor Fiona De Londras (Birmingham Law School)

Postgraduate students and academic staff are welcome to attend.


Counter-terrorism is an increasingly transnational affair. While ‘legislative’ resolutions from the Security Council have attracted some attention in the counter-terrorism and constitutionalism literature(s), transnational counter-terrorism goes well beyond this. Resolutions, norms, Directives, soft law, ‘best practice’ guidance, model laws, ‘evidence’ building, and peer engagement are all part of the increasingly intensive—and increasingly intrusive—transnational counter-terrorism now in evidence.

Promulgated not only by international organisations (such as the UN and EU) but also by hard-to-define actors such as the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum and Financial Action Task Force, transnational counter-terrorism is increasingly imposing itself on domestic law- and politics-spaces, more often than not licensing (rather than limiting) what states do in this contentious policy field.

This transnational norm generation poses urgent challenges, undermining attempts to constitutionalise counter-terrorism activity at the domestic level through its opacity, apparent ‘irresistability’, and ability to close out stakeholders (including civil society) from processes of policy-making and ex post facto evaluation.

In this paper, the nature and scale of the challenge posed by transnational counter-terrorism will be outlined, and the urgent need for constitutionalist attention to the transnational counter-terrorism space made out.

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