Judge rules on Prevent duty judicial review

Judge rules on Prevent duty judicial review

In December 2016, a judicial review was brought against the UK government in relation to the Prevent duty statutory guidance. The judgement was released on 26 July 2017 which dismissed all claims brought forward by the claimant. 

In summary, this means that the government is not required to change the implementation of Prevent in the higher education sector, including the statutory guidance and HEFCE's monitoring framework in England. 

Key headlines from the judgement are below: 

  • Prevent is needed to safeguard vulnerable people from the threat of radicalisation (para 116)
  • there is no “interference” between the Prevent Duty and freedom of speech” (para 80)
  • the guidance does not dictate what actions providers should take. It is for institutions to decide locally what action is best for them (paras 61, 68)
  • the guidance does not supersede other legal duties on institutions such as the duty to ensure freedom of speech and academic freedom (paras 62, 68 and 80)
  • the guidance does not equate non-violent extremism with terrorism on any reasonable reading, so in cases of non-violent extremism that doesn’t risk people being drawn into terrorism it doesn’t apply (para 30)
  • ensuring ‘full mitigation’ of risks around any speaker event can be read as ‘mitigation as far as reasonably practicable’ (para 58)