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The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act

Martyn’s Law – An overview of the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill

The Government’s Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill (the “Bill”) featured in the King’s Speech on Tuesday 07 November 2023 indicating the Government’s intention to pass this new law in the coming months.

Overview of the Bill

The Bill was published on 02 May 2023 and is known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in recognition of the campaign led by the mother of one the victims of the Manchester Arena bombings in May 2017. Once in force, the Act will require those responsible for publicly accessible venues to take prescribed steps to reduce the threat to the public from terrorist attacks.

The national threat level from terrorism is currently “substantial” and in response to this the Government has introduced numerous pieces of legislation in the past five years aimed at bolstering the existing legislative framework for countering terrorism.

The Bill was originally announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2022, its purpose being to “keep people safe by introducing new security requirements for certain public locations and venues to ensure preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks”. The main elements would be the establishment of a new requirements framework for those in control of certain public locations and venues to consider and take measures to mitigate the threat from terrorism together with an inspection and enforcement regime, aiming to education, advise and ensure compliance.

The Bill would provide that a person responsible for qualifying public premises or a qualifying public event would be subject to certain terrorism protection requirements.

A ‘qualifying public premise’ must:

  • Be primarily used for one of the uses listed in the Bill, which include shops; food and drink venues, nightclubs, theatres and music venues, sports grounds, libraries, museum and galleries, conference centres, childcare and education settings and places of worship;
  • Be accessible to the public; and
  • Have capacity of more than 100 people.

A ‘qualifying event’ would be events taking place at a venue which is not a qualifying public premises as described above, which is accessible to the public on the basis of express permission and with a capacity of more than 800.

Depending on the nature of the venue or event, these might include providing staff with protection terrorism training, conducting risk assessments, and considering what ‘reasonably practicable’ measures might be taken to reduce the risk.

What does this mean for me?

Once the Bill is passed through Parliament, we will know exactly what is expected and what duties will be placed on building and event owners and operators to mitigate the risk of terror attacks.

At this stage we know that the Bill will impose certain requirements on persons responsible for qualifying venues and events. Venues with capacity of 100 or over would be subject to a ‘standard duty’, intended to be relatively light touch and low cost to implement. Venues with capacity of 800 or more, and qualifying public events, would be subject to an ‘enhanced duty’, entailing more onerous and costly requirements.

Examples of such duties include:

  • The requirement to undertake a terrorism risk assessment and to periodically review it;
  • The provision of terrorism protection training;
  • Ensure security measures are in place to reduce the risk of acts of terrorism occurring at the venue and to reduce the risk of physical harm;
  • The requirement to appoint a designator senior officer responsible for the co-ordination of risk assessments and preparation of security plans; and
  • Cooperation (as necessary) with certain authorities.

Importantly, the Bill would also establish a new regulator with powers to inspect and enforce the requirements imposed by the Bill. The regulator would have the power to issue a penalty notice to any person failing to meet a requirement imposed by the Bill and it is understood that the maximum penalty for a ‘standard duty premises’ would be £10,000 and for a ‘enhanced duty premises’ to be the greater of £18 million or 5% of a person’s worldwide revenue.

If passed in its current form, the Bill will also create new criminal offences which could lead to personally liability in some circumstances.

The Bill is a significant step at trying to combat terrorism and when it does pass through Parliament will place substantial duties on owners and occupiers of buildings and events.

How can we help?

For further guidance and advice on the Bill or for more information on health and safety law and regulatory issues, please contact a member of the team below.


Your key contacts

Bridget Sanger

Senior Associate

Bridget defends, represents and advises companies and individuals investigated and/or prosecuted in the criminal courts, with particular specialism in regulatory work surrounding agriculture and regulatory work surrounding care homes
View profile for Bridget Sanger >

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