Law and Policy Clinic: Counterterrorism and Human Rights

New counterterrorism normalcy is a fundamental challenge to the human rights regime, whether it comes from torture, targeted killing or citizenship deprivation.

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This Clinic will allow students to engage with the main challenges posed by counterterrorism policies.

Since the attacks of 9/11 there has been constant erosion of human rights protections of those suspected, arrested, detained, convicted and imprisoned because they are considered threats to national security.

The erosion has been evident with regards to rights to life, liberty, privacy and freedom of expression. It has also been evident with respect to the prohibition on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as the right to truth, open justice, fair trial rights and citizenship rights.

The challenges come from a particularly pernicious transnational alliance of State actors, as well as international bodies such as the United Nations Security Council, which pursue a ‘war on terror’. The result is a radical reordering of the conceptual underpinnings of human rights and the rule of law, made all the more acute because of the lack of transparency regarding the risks these actors are seeking to avert.

Aims and activities

LLB Law Students registering with the ‘Counterterrorism and Human Rights’ branch of the Law & Policy Clinic engage with the main challenges to human rights posed by counterterrorism policies at a domestic, comparative and international law level, and have the opportunity to take part in a range of research-led and legal practice activities such as:

  • Researching UK law, European Court of Human Rights case law, EU and UN legislation relating to counter terrorism, and their practical application in the UK and other members of the Council of Europe
  • Publishing their research in the form of thematic blog posts, case commentaries, videos, infographics, and news items on the Knowing Our Rights (KOR) website
  • Participating in KOR school workshops and speaking to 16-18 year old students about their research on counterterrorism and human rights
  • Contributing research on counterterrorism and human rights to inform the development of VR experiences and other digital immersive experiences, in collaboration with creative technology studios working with the Law & Policy Clinic
  • Contributing to Goldsmiths Law responses to formal consultations, policy briefings and research reports


Fatima Ahdash

The Counter Terrorism and Human Rights branch of the Law & Policy Clinic is supervised by Dr Fatima Ahdash, a Lecturer in Law at Goldsmiths, who is an expert on counter-terrorism, family law and human rights.

Dr Fatima Ahdash’s staff profile


The ‘Counterterrorism and Human Rights’ branch of the clinic is supported by the Knowing our Rights research project, which aims to provide analysis, and to deepen and increase understanding, of the application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the UK, based on academic scholarship and engagement with the public, young people in particular.

Career links

The clinic runs in parallel with the ‘Criminal Law: Theory and Practice’ module and the ‘Public Law and the Human Rights Act’ module in Year 1.

It is of particular pertinence to students aiming to follow a career as a solicitor, and will allow them to embed knowledge and professional legal skills relevant to the new Solicitors’ Qualifying Examination (SQE).


Students who participate in the prescribed number of activities sufficient for them to complete the clinic, are awarded a certificate in an end-of-year special ceremony, where all student-teams engaged with the Law & Policy Clinic get the opportunity to present their work.

Students successfully completing different branches of the Law & Policy Clinic will be given priority in potential applications to the Human Rights Law Clinic in the final year of their studies.