Tories to Reinvent Human Rights

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.

immigration barrister Article *
thanks, Anon

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website

Too Many Successful Appeals – Down With the ECHR, says Home Secretary

Britain’s Daily Mail (whose anti immigration stance is often the talking point amongst immigration lawyers) reported this week that Britain must pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) so that it may pursue the government’s aim of deporting more foreign criminals. (Thanks to the immigration solicitor at court who pointed this article out to me yesterday). 

It is said that in order to achieve success in its objective, to “get rid of foreign criminals”, the Home Secretary has advised Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw from the convention. This follows the criticism that the provisions of the ECHR have for years been used by immigration barristers and solicitors to bring successful appeals against Home Office decisions refusing  visas (entry clearance) and removing and deporting people from the UK. The ECHR has been used to win appeals brought against decisions of the Home Secretary in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and in the High Court and Supreme Court.

The Mail reports that some party members consider that complete withdrawal from the convention is the only “credible option” to free domestic courts from the edicts of the Strasbourg judges. Others will doubtless be taking a less radical stance and talking about further attempts to curtail its effect.

This news follows earlier reporting that despite government’s stated intention and efforts to increase deportations, they have been thwarted by the rise in the rate of successful appeals against deportation.

It is expected that  plans to limit the effect of the convention will be presented to the Conservative Party conference this Autumn.

The article does not go on to consider the impact of removing the convention which has in many cases been the only safeguard against often harsh immigration laws- protecting lives, preventing torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and preventing the break up of families. 

successful echr appeals
Some in UK government wish to withdraw from ECHR- Freeing Britain from Human Rights

Should you wish to consider the tyrannical effect of the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, click here.