The Protect Duty (Martyn’s Law)


In December 2022, the Government announced details for the Protect Duty, also known as ‘Martyn’s Law’, in tribute of Martyn Hett who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

It has been identified that security in public places needs to be improved with robust, proportionate, and consistent measures taken to consider the impact of a terrorist attack and to mitigate the likelihood.  Without legal intervention counter terrorism security efforts often fall behind. The prioritisation, consideration and application of security processes and measures is deemed to be inconsistent throughout sectors, which includes schools and colleges.   

Does my school fall within scope?

Qualifying locations is a term which defines whether premises are in scope of the Duty, which enables assessments to be undertaken by way of potential occupancy capacity.  Three tests need to be met for the Duty to apply:

  1. That the premises is an eligible one (building or event with a defined boundary)
  2. That a qualifying activity takes place at the location.  Education is expected to be deemed a qualifying activity
  3. That the maximum occupancy of the premises meets a specified threshold – either 100+ or 800+

Standard tier (capacity of 100 to 800) will require the undertaking of simple yet effective activities to improve security and preparedness.  This may include completion of free training, awareness raising and information to staff and completion of an emergency/preparedness plan.

Enhanced tier (capacity of 800+) will place additional requirements on high-capacity locations in recognition of the potential catastrophic consequences of a successful attack.  Likely requirements will be a risk assessment and security plan.  This will allow assessment of the balance of risk reduction against the time, money and effort required to achieve a successful level of security – considered to be a ‘reasonably practicable standard’.

Insurance considerations

As part of your assessment, consideration should be given to the following:

  • What Public Liability cover is provided at present for Terrorist attacks (note Employers’ Liability covers employees whilst in the UK, although cap the limit at £5M)
  • If no cover is provided, will your insurer extend, and to what extent
  • If your school has high liability limits, do you need comparative terrorism limits
  • Do you need separate Terrorism cover; consider the differences between that policy and any cover provided in your existing Liability policy
  • How can you be held legally liable for a Terrorism attack
  • What consideration should the school give to activities or events run by subsidiary companies or the PTA

Further information will be provided as the legislation passes through parliament, but should you wish to discuss further from an insurance perspective, we would welcome hearing from you.