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What is a Schedule 7 Examination

16 November 2018

Article by: Robert Borwick


Examinations are used to determine whether an individual is concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. 

These can be used in respect of a person in a port or border area, about to embark or disembark a ship, aircraft or international train.

To determine whether someone should be examined an officer will conduct screening questions.  At this stage there is no compulsion on the person to answer these questions.

Once selected for examination a person MUST be notified that they are being examined for that purpose under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.  The examining officer must:

  • Explain that this does not mean they are suspected of being involved in terrorism
  • The reason for the examination is to determine whether an individual is concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism
  • Provide sufficient information as to the officer identity and location to enable to officer to be identified if the event of a complaint
  • Set out how the examination will be conducted and provide an information leaflet

The initial examination time is limited to an hour.  Before the expiry of an hour the examining officer must detain the person if they want to examine him or her further.  Any examination beyond an hour without detention is unlawful.  Once detained the detention must be reviewed before the end of the period of one hour from the start of detention.  Subsequent reviews must take place at intervals of no more than two hours from the conclusion of the previous review.  The review officer must be satisfied that continued detention is necessary.

The maximum period of examination, including detention, must not exceed six hours from the start of the examination.  A person is entitled to refreshments, regular breaks and healthcare.

A person being examined under schedule 7:

  • Is under a duty to answer questions and to give the officer any information in his or her possession which the officer requests.
  • A person cannot remain silent or exercise no comment during the examination. It is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment to fail to comply with this duty.
  • Where needed an interpreter must be arranged
  • The detained person can also be searched
  • Any property with the individual including electronic items can be searched. Officers can also request passwords for mobiles and electronic devices
  • The right to legal advice is discretionary under examination although where practicable this should be allowed. Once detained the person DOES have a right to consult a solicitor in private unless to do so would prejudice the purpose of the examination

An examining officer must cease to examine once they are satisfied that sufficient information has been obtained to make a determination.

Should you require any further advice or assistance in respect of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act please contact Akhtar Ahmad on 0344 587 9996

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