Dan Squires, an English barrister who specializes in public law and human rights, is visiting the law school this spring to teach Terrorism and the Law in International and Comparative Perspective. Squires has been involved in a number of leading cases in the United Kingdom concerning prison law, privacy, terrorism and issues related to fair trial rights.

“In the seminar, one of the things we’re discussing is definitions of terrorism,” says Squires, who has written and lectured on the subject since 2001, and bases his practice with Matrix Chambers in London. “The legal definitions are incredibly broad, so we’re finding that how terrorism is defined depends largely on politics.”

In examining how legal responses to terrorism have developed since 2001, Squires is using a comparative lens, focusing on the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and international law. “What can we learn from the language used in describing terrorism and counterterrorism?” he asks his students. “Why does terrorism create so many conceptual difficulties for the law?”

While Squires readily admits most of his queries lead to more questions rather than answers, he finds the dialogue with American students quite different from his interactions with students in the UK. “We’re talking about how difficult political questions turn into legal questions and then bounce back to political questions. The conversations are fascinating,” he notes. “I’m impressed by how engaged and thoughtful the students are here.”