Articles

ECHR

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2011 by grahamharrowell

Daisy May, the Home Secretary, wants to change the immigration rules to prevent convicted criminals from avoiding deportation through the European Convention on Human Rights. Good luck to her. Whatever she gets through Parliament (and she needs to do that first) can be struck down under the Human Rights Act if it breaches the Convention, so not much point. Apparently, she’s also keen to get rid of the Human Rights Act too. To what end, apart from playing to the Daily Mail gallery?
We (the United Kingdom, that is) were instrumental in forcing the ECHR on Europe in the aftermath of WW2. Apart from anything else we figured that the Convention would prevent the rise of another Hitler type dictatorship. You can imagine the scene. “I’m sorry Mr Hitler but this just won’t do. The court orders you to stop this SA nonsense at once.” “OK boys, put the brown shirts back in the box and the armbands too. We’re beaten.” In fact some German judges did rule against the Nazis and paid with their lives. The purpose of the ECHR was quite sweet but unlikely ever to be realised.
The point is that we have been, and will continue to be (thank goodness) subject to the ECHR. All that the HRA did was to give judges here in the UK the power to consider quickly any claim that a government action breached the ECHR (rather than wait years for a case to come to court in Strasbourg) and to have it considered by the wonderfully sensible British judiciary rather than a bunch on contrary foreigners. Well, be careful what you wish for! It seems to be that our own judges have appeared to be more contrary than the Europeans.
Incidentally, the Home Secretary might have been better advised to avoid cases allegedly involving cats (and I can assure you that the arrest teams in UKBA carry little cat baskets so that people being removed and deported can take their pets with them) and to instance something like the man who sought to avoid deportation by claiming his ECHR right to family life. He said that he wished to be able to visit his daughters and that to remove him would breach his rights. His conviction was for raping his daughters. The fact that they, for their part, had no wish to see him ever again was not relevant to the court as it was his Human Rights that were being brought into play. I think Mrs May should not seek to trivialize important matters.

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