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31 October 2013

Miranda Judicial review challenge to be heard on 6 and 7 November

3 mins

On 18 August 2013 at London’s Heathrow airport, Metropolitan police officers used controversial counter-terrorism powers to detain David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald. He was held and questioned for nine hours under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (under which it is a criminal offence not to answer questions). The material he was carrying was seized and retained, material which included sensitive journalistic documents held in confidence.  Greenwald described his partner's detention as “clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ.”

On 21 August, David Miranda launched judicial review proceedings against the police and Home Office challenging the use of Schedule 7 powers against him. That legal case asserts that the Government circumvented the proper procedures in order to obtain materials which might have been denied to them by a court, and it says that the legislation itself must be reviewed.

The legal challenge will also focus on the disproportionate interference with freedom of expression rights engaged in this case. Freedom of expression is a multifaceted right, encompassing both freedom to communicate and freedom to receive information. Further, the protection of journalism is always justified by reference to the public's right to receive information. In other words freedom of expression is not simply a right exercised and enjoyed by individuals; it is also a collective right enjoyed by society as a whole. The court will be asked to analyse the arguments through this prism.

The court has given permission to the following leading NGOs and media organisations to intervene in the case: Liberty, Article 19, English PEN, The Media Legal Defence Initiative, and a coalition of the NUJ, Mirror Group News Limited, Independent Print Limited, Index on Censorship, the International Federation of Journalists and the Media Law Resource Centre.

The judicial review will be heard on 6-7 November in the High Court in London before Lord Justice Laws, Mr Justice Ouseley and Mr Justice Openshaw.

The detention of David Miranda sparked and continues to generate fierce debate in the UK and around the world about the use of anti-terror legislation, the role of the state, surveillance and privacy, and the freedom of expression of journalists and others working with them. Please refer to this site – – for updates on the latest developments in David Miranda’s legal case and on related political and media issues. If you have queries please email David’s solicitor on or

Please click on the links below for the related press coverage:

David Miranda lawyers receive key documents in detention challenge (The Guardian, 30 October 2013)

UK court declines request for more details on Miranda detention (Financial Times, 30 October 2013)

R (Miranda) v Home Secretary: today’s hearing (Head of legal, 30 October 2013)

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