Blurred photograph showing a crowded event space

Government remains committed to introducing legislation, which is known as “Martyn’s Law”, aimed at minimising the risk of a terror attack in or in the vicinity of public premises and events.

It is estimated that the legislation, will apply to more than 275,000 “standard tier” premises (with capacity of 100-799 people) and “enhanced tier” premises and qualify public events (capacity of 800+ people) across the UK.

On 5 February 2024, following concerns raised by the Home Affairs Select Committee about the proportionality and cost of what is being proposed, the Home Office launched a six-week consultation on the government’s revised approach to standard tier premises.

Will Martyn’s Law apply to you, if so, what will you have to do? Steve Panton, a partner and specialist health & safety lawyer at Stephens Scown, summarises the key features of the draft Bill and the scope of the further government consultation, which is open until 18 March 2024.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill

The much-anticipated draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, known as Martyn’s Law, was published last year.

Martyn’s Law is the result of a campaign by the mother of Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims of the 2017 Manchester Area bombing, to impose legal obligations on those responsible for “qualifying” publicly accessible places and events so that they are better prepared for, and ready to respond to, a terrorist attack.

The steps that dutyholders will be required to take will depend on the size and type of the activities taking place, and the proposed penalties for non-compliance are substantial. Up to £10,000 for standard tier premises and £18 million or more for enhanced tier premises and qualifying public events.

What types of premises and events will the new legislation apply to?

Qualifying premises and events are defined as publicly accessible buildings and venues that have capacity to hold 100 or more people at any one time and are wholly or mainly used for;

  • Retail
  • Food & Drink
  • Hospitality & Nightlife
  • Entertainment
  • Hotels & Holiday Parks
  • Recreation & Leisure
  • Visitor Attractions & Theme Parks
  • Sports Grounds
  • Places of Worship
  • Libraries, Museums and Galleries
  • Healthcare
  • Education and Childcare
  • Conference Centres, Exhibition Halls and similar venues for hire

Where the premises are enclosed (ie buildings), public access can be by express or implied permission. However, open air premises will only fall within the scope of Martyn’s Law if express permission to access is required, such as with a ticket, membership or by invitation.  The requirements will not apply to public parks and gardens, recreation or sports grounds where no payment is taken for entry, nor any checks carried out.

“Qualifying Premises” will fall into two categories;

Standard Tier – premises with capacity to hold 100-799 members of the public

Enhanced Tier – premises and events with a public capacity of 800 or more people

A “Qualifying Public Event” is defined as an event that the public or a section of the public have access to, and the premises have a public capacity of 800 or more people.

Who will be responsible for complying with Martyn’s Law?

The person or persons who have control of the qualifying premises or event.

What duties will responsible persons have to undertake?

The extent of the security-related requirements for premises and events will depend on capacity, with the qualifying premises either being “standard duty” premises or “enhanced duty” premises; both of which will have to be registered with the Regulator.

At the time of publication of this briefing, the proposed duties and requirements are;

Standard Tier Premises

As confirmed in the explanatory note relating to the Standard Tier consultation that has been launched, it is proposed that dutyholders will need to;

  • register their premises with the regulator tasked with enforcing Martyn’s Law
  • have in place procedural measures that could be expected to reduce, so far as reasonably practicable, the risk of physical harm to individuals at the premises in the event of an attack, including procedures for;
    • evacuation
    • bringing people into premises to keep them safe in the event of an attack
    • securing premises against attackers, and
    • communicating and alerting staff and customers on how to move away from danger
    • making sure workers are sufficiently instructed or trained to follow the procedural measures put in place

Enhanced Tier Premises and Qualifying Public Events

The person(s) responsible will have to;

  • in the case of enhanced tier premises, register their premises with the regulator
  • in the case of qualifying public events, notify the event to the regulator
  • take reasonably practicable security measures that align with existing statutory regimes (such as Health and Safety & Fire Safety) to minimise the risk of a successful terrorist attack and reduce the level of physical harm caused in the event of an attack, measures which may include the installation of physical measures, controls and barriers,
  • ensure a terrorism risk assessment of the premises is completed, review at least once a year and updated each time there is a material change to the premises or material change of use to the premises
  • ensure a terrorism risk assessment of a public event is completed at least three months before the event takes place or as soon as reasonably practicable after details of the event are made available to the public
  • keep and maintain a security plan, aided by an assessment of the terrorism risk, which must also be provided to the Regulator;
  • provide terrorism protection training to staff who work at or in connection with the premises or event
  • if the responsible person is a body corporate, they must appoint an individual as the Designated Senior Individual for the premise or event.

Are there any exceptions for certain types of premises or organisations?

Yes, there a several proposed exceptions.

Places of worship will be classified as Stand Tier premises, irrespective of their maximum capacity unless they charge a fee for admission.

Premises that are used for childcare or primary, secondary or further education (but not higher education) will also fall within the Standard Tier even if their capacity is 800 or over, although existing safety and safeguarding policies and procedures which are independently monitored will have to be complied with.

Are any premises exempt?

Under current proposals, premises used as private dwellings or offices and premises that are already bound by existing transport security regimes (such as airports and ferry ports) will fall outside of the scope of Martyn’s Law.

What are the consequences, penalties and sanctions for failing to comply with Martyn’s Law?

The regulator responsible for ensuring compliance with Martyn’s Law will have extensive powers of investigation and enforcement. These include;

  • issuing contravention notices requiring remedial action to be taken
  • issuing restriction notices to prevent or limit the use of premises

Civil sanctions for non-compliance are also significant, and include;

  • up to a £10,000 monetary penalty for non-compliant Standard Tier premises and events, and
  • up to £18 million or 5% of qualifying worldwide revenue for non-compliant Enhanced Tier premises

Martyn’s Law will also impose criminal liability for certain acts and omissions. It will be an offence not to comply with a contravention notice or restriction notice relating to Enhanced Tier premises or qualifying event. In the event of conviction, a custodial sentence of up to two years and/or a fine can be imposed.

What is the purpose of the consultation on Standard Tier Premises?

The purpose of the consultation on is to seek the views of persons responsible for, or has an interest or experience in, smaller premises that are currently intended to fall within the definition of Standard Tier premises.

Access to the online consultation and explanatory note can be found at Martyn’s Law: standard tier consultation – GOV.UK (

Next Steps – What should you be doing?

If the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill received royal assent, dutyholders are intended to have up to 18 or 24 months to prepare before the new legislation comes into force.

However, given the government’s commitment to introducing Martyn’s Law, if you own or are responsible for qualifying premises and events, you should start considering the duties that are likely to apply and how you will go about complying with them. You should also stay up to date with advice and information; accessing resources such as the National Security Inspectorate’s ProtectUK online hub.

We will be monitoring progress of the Protect Duty Bill and will be publishing updates, as and when required.