The Civil Contingencies Act (formerly known as the Civil Contingencies Bill) was passed on 18.11.04. It could be described as "a nightmare come true".

Supposed to modernise civil emergency arrangements, it goes well beyond this, aiming to allow the Government and Ministers to exercise almost absolute powers at the slightest excuse.

When Parliament's Joint Committee reported on the original Bill in November 2003, they were alarmed that:
"In the wrong hands, it could be used to undermine or even remove legislation underpinning the British Constitution and infringe human rights".

Lord Lucas likened the slightly-amended Bill to Hitler's 'Enabling Act'.
"... Are we opening up our system to the equivalent of what happened in Germany in 1933, when it became possible for an extreme party legitimately to hijack a democracy and turn it into something totalitarian?"

Find out how it might affect you

Thank you to everyone who lobbied for water-tight
amendments that would safeguard our freedom.
Watch this space for an update on how
we can assert our rights against abuse of State powers.

Explore our summary

We have prepared a plain-language summary
for those who are not legal or political experts.

Read our analysis (text: 'HL Bill 77')

Our researchers have produced a readable 'Q+A' feature
that covers the intended powers and lack of safeguards.
Original material, fully referenced.

Find out the background

History of the Act.

Links to other sites

Find out what others have said.

Related topics

Find out about other legal moves
and threats to your freedom.

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Updated: 22 November 2004, Link updated: 31 July 2006