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Commercial occupiers and the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill

07 February 2024
The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill (the "Bill"), also known as "Martyn's Law", is a piece of draft legislation which is aimed at combatting terrorism by imposing obligations on property owners and occupiers in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks over the last several years; in particular the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.


The Bill seeks to create a regulatory framework which would require owners and occupiers of publicly accessible premises (with a capacity of 100 or more people) to reduce the risk of terrorism through training, risk assessment and mitigation, and security planning. 

What premises are likely to be affected?

Schedule 1 of the Bill sets out "qualifying premises":

  • shops;
  • food and drink venues;
  • nightclubs;
  • theaters and music venues;
  • sports grounds;
  • libraries, museums and galleries;
  • conference centers;
  • childcare and education centers; 
  • hospitals;
  • bus and train stations and airports;
  • public authorities and;
  • places of worship.

For premises which include units of occupation (e.g. shopping centres) the requirements will apply to each unit of occupation and separately the whole of the premises - both occupiers and the estate landlord will need to comply. 

Occupiers of "enhanced duty premises" (i.e. a capacity of 800 or more people) will be subject to a more onerous compliance regime. 

The Bill also contains a separate duty for "events" which are publicly accessible by express permission in a venue with a capacity of 800 or more people, but this is beyond the scope of this article. 

Key requirements for compliance

  • Registration: qualifying premises must be registered with the regulator.
  • Evaluation and assessment of terrorist risk: annual terrorism assessments must be completed for each premises.
  • Provision of terrorism protection training: for everyone who works at, or in connection with, the premises and has responsibilities that make it appropriate for them to receive such training.
  • Security measures: for enhanced duty premises all reasonably practicable measures must be put in place to reduce the risks of acts of terrorism and physical harm occurring at the premises.
  • Designated senior officer: to be responsible for the co-ordination of risk assessments and preparation of security plans for enhanced duty premises.
  • Security plans: must be prepared/maintained and provided to the regulator for enhanced duty premises.
  • Co-operation: the Bill includes a mechanism for serving a 'co-operation notice' if compliance requires co-operation with another party. Disputes would be referred to the First-Tier Tribunal.


The Bill will create new criminal and civil offences, with a new regulator set up to enforce it. It will be a criminal offence to fail to comply with a contravention or restriction notice, or to provide false or misleading information to the regulator. 

Substantial fines are mooted, ranging from £10,000 up to the greater of £18 million or 5% of worldwide revenue. The Bill also makes provision for director/manager/officer criminal liability with the prospect of imprisonment.

Final thoughts

The Bill is relevant to all owners, occupiers and managers across a broad range of sectors, however it is still draft legislation and is likely to change. 

If it is enacted, careful preparation will be necessary to ensure compliance, particularly for multi-occupier premises like shopping centres and leisure complexes, where there may be multiple responsible parties. It will be necessary to ensure that the correct person with "control" of the premises within the meaning of the Bill is identified and complies with its duties. 

There is also the prospect of a significant new additional administrative and cost burden for many hard-pressed sectors – particularly voluntary and charitable organisations.  Some 66% of the respondents to the initial consultation disagreed with the cost-benefit estimates included in the consultation, with many expressing concerns that the costs may cause the closure of some organisations. 

The Bill was featured in the King's Speech in November 2023, however it is currently undergoing a further public consultation after the Regulatory Policy Committee expressed concerns over the Bill's lack of consideration for the impact on small and micro-businesses.

Our commercial occupier team understands the issues facing occupiers in the management of their property portfolios. Please speak to one of the team if we can assist you.

We would like to thank Greg Wood for his contribution to this article.

Further Reading