The Conservatives have pledged to free the UK from the tyranny of Human Rights, if elected in the next May. “People in this Country are fed up with human rights being used as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour”- Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.
The combined effect of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 has been a constant dampener on Tory plans to make Britain a better place (for the British) and there has long been talk of limiting its effect. Immigration barristers have often heard criticisms of the ECHR made by Home Office immigration barristers at court.
Article 8 has come in for most criticism in this context. It provides for the protection of family and private life. The Home Office made changes to the Immigration Rules, effective from July 2012, variously described as intended to incorporate the Article 8 protection into the Immigration Rules and to free our domestic courts from the tyranny of the European Court of Human Rights. The effect, however is almost always restrictive of any protective effect.
The new proposals, which are to be included in the party’s general election manifesto, will reach much further. They will provide a parliamentary override of judgements from the Strasbourg court, preventing those judgements from being followed by the domestic courts and tribunals. This effectively diminishes an important protection against State actions.
Opponents also claim this will add to existing threats against the rule of international human rights law arising from Russia and other nations’ resistance to the enforcement of Strasbourg Court decisions.
The text of the original Convention will be imported into domestic law (a similar tactic to that taken by the Home Secretary in her private legislation, the Immigration Rules, in relation to Article 8). The UK courts will be told they need not take into account Strasbourg jurisdiction to interpret it. The Human Rights Act 1998 will be scrapped.
This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.co