Terrorism is one of the most significant legal issues of the modern era. While the use of fear and violence to achieve political ends has probably existed since the advent of political systems, this millennium we have seen a renewed global focus on the threat posed from terrorism, combined with a global effort to combat it. This has led to a proliferation of international and domestic law on the issue, both drawing from and developing long standing legal principles.
June 2014 sees the issue of terrorism receive its own subtitle “Terrorism Offences” in The Laws of Australia, within the Criminal Offences title. This material was authored by Theo Alexander of the Victorian Bar. For the first time, this topical and dynamic area of law is distilled in the Encyclopaedia, enabling those working with, or simply interested in, terrorism offences to access relevant laws and case examples in one place.
This area of law presents a complex mixture of historical concepts, like espionage and treason, and modern developments. While the violent acts that underpin changes in legislation concerning terrorism have always been the subject of criminal law (those actions that lead directly to death, injury and property damage for example), a significant proportion of terrorism offences that have been developed this millennium seek to interrupt the organisation and planning that can lead to such attacks from the initial stages. These developments give rise to liability for an offence much earlier than is usual in criminal law. This subtitle expertly explores these developments by tracing legislation, case law and international law to present a comprehensive picture of terrorism offences as they exist in Australian law today.