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Industrial action by firefighters could leave their union open to legal action due to badly drafted legislation in the Terrorism Act 2000, claimed a leading lawyer
It could potentially be used in court to force the union to call off the strike. "The act is misconceived and badly drafted," said Leolin Price QC of 10 Old Square. Price said that, in theory, companies, individuals or local authorities could bring a claim against the union. For example, a company producing dangerous products that could not open on strike days due to inadequate fire cover could bring a claim. So could employers who lost business because of the strike, or even individuals who faced in-creased danger by travelling to work on the underground. The act's definition of terrorism includes the use or threat of action designed to influence the Government and made for the purpose of advancing a political cause. This can include endangering a person's life and creating a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public. Price said he would be happy to act for someone on such a claim because he want-ed to show that the Terrorism Act was an "outrage". Because the threat of action falls under the act, the Government also has the right to intercept communications, such as letters, email and phone calls, in the interest of national security. "There needs to be a redefinition of when the state can invade privacy," said Masons partner Chris Pounder.