R (David Miranda) v Home Secretary and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service


In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal has partly allowed an appeal against the use of controversial police powers to stop, detain, search and question travellers at airports under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000.  In August 2013 police officers at Heathrow Airport used suspicion-less powers under Schedule 7 to seize journalistic material from David Miranda, the spouse of the award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was publishing articles about Edward Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations. The Court of Appeal refused Mr Miranda’s appeal on the grounds that the police had acted for a lawful purpose and given the extraordinary breadth of the Schedule 7 power had acted within the statute.  But the Court of Appeal went on to hold that the powers under Schedule 7 are incompatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights because they do not provide effective protection for the basic rights of journalists and those who work with them. The judgment also provided an important clarification of the definition of “terrorism”, overturning the High Court’s ruling that  acts of lawful political activity that unintentionally and inadvertently endanger life may constitute terrorism.


Matthew Ryder QC, Dan Squires and Edward Craven represented the appellant, David Miranda.  Alex Bailin QC and Ben Silverstone represented the intervener Liberty.