September 11, Anti-Terror Laws and Civil Liberties: Britain, France and Germany Compared


  • Dirk Haubrich


The attacks on the United States of America in September 2001 have spurred a rapid implementation of new Anti-Terrorism legislation around the world. In an effort to, ostensibly, safeguard against the repetition of similar events on their own territories, many democracies have taken far-reaching legislative steps that might threaten the ideal of liberty on which their societies have traditionally been built. This article examines the laws introduced in Britain, France and Germany to establish the extent to which civil liberties in eight different categories have been curtailed. It concludes that, despite the otherwise similar characteristics of the countries studied, the legal provisions differ significantly in scope and depth, a fact that might be explained by: the different levels of threat perception; Britain's history of anti-terror legislation; and the respective power balances between judiciaries and legislatures.