FLJS and Aspen Institute Lecture
Detention without Trial in Wartime Britain

Professor AW Brian Simpson, University of Michigan, gives an account of the response of the courts to detention without trial during WWII. The lecture opens a two-day seminar entitled 'In Times of Crisis Can We Trust the Courts?'


The lecture argues that the courts largely abandoned any role in protecting civil liberty, on the ground that, under the emergency legislation of the time, this was not their responsibility. It goes on to explain how the ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights, and its incorporation into domestic law under the Human Rights Act of 1998, has radically altered the position, though the inherent problems involved when regular courts become involved in monitoring the activities of security services in times of crisis persist today.