The Court of Appeal (the Master of the Rolls and Sharp and Irwin LJJ) has handed down judgment in the case of R (Butt) v Home Secretary [2019] EWCA Civ 256 following a two day hearing in December 2018. Oliver Sanders QC and Amelia Walker instructed to represent the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The claim was a human rights challenge to two aspects of the government’s counter-extremism strategy: (1) the work of the Home Office Extremism Analysis Unit which conducts research into extremism and extremists, including using open source materials and social media; and (2) the Prevent Duty Guidance issued to universities on external speakers on campuses.

The claim failed on every ground at first instance (before Ouseley J) and the claimant’s appeal was dismissed on four grounds, but allowed in relation to one paragraph of the Guidance: (1) the Extremism Analysis Unit’s use of the claimant’s personal data was lawful and did not involve “surveillance” or engage his art.8 privacy rights and, even if it had done, any interference would have been compatible with art.8(2); and (2) the Guidance did not interfere with the claimant’s art.10 free expression rights and was substantively lawful, save that paragraph 11 was not sufficiently balanced and requires “very easily achievable” amendment.

It is understood that the claimant will seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Judgment for 2019 can be found below, with links to the Court of Appeal summary, Home Office press release and wider media coverage.

Watch Oliver Sanders QC and Amelia Walker in action via the UK Judiciary YouTube channel: