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Proposed control orders for violent offenders violate civil liberties: UK judges

[JURIST] Senior judges on the UK Council of HM Circuit Judges [official website] have warned UK lawmakers that the judiciary may balk at a plan to add new control orders [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to a draft criminal justice and immigration bill [PDF text], the Guardian reported Tuesday. Lawmakers have proposed adding a violent offender order, which would impose tough restrictions on the activities of released offenders for at least two years, with no statutory endpoint. While no specific restrictions have been set, the judges said that the proposed orders, which could mandate compulsory mental health treatment or ban contact with the offender's family, unduly restrict former offenders' civil liberties. The judges argued that professional full-time judges rather than magistrates should determine when to impose the violent offender order, and complained that the proposal does not guarantee legal representation for offenders.

Control orders were first introduced [JURIST report] by the Tony Blair government in 2005, and apart from being politically controversial have already run into repeated problems in the courts [JURIST report]. The Guardian has more.

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