Theresa May issues new measures to fight deportation avoidance
Home Secretary Theresa May today announced a fight against the power of judges to block the deportation of foreign criminals on human rights grounds.
Ms May said she would ask MPs to support the new guidelines that would outline how the European Convention on Human Rights(ECHR) can be used by the courts.
She specifically targeted a person’s right to a family life – as mentioned in Article 8 of the European convention used to bypass deportation – stating that it was not absolute.
In an interview with BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, she accused the judges of not taking the wider public interest into consideration when applying Article 8, even though they were entitled to do so under the terms of ECHR.
She said: “This is not an absolute right. So in the interests of the economy or of controlling migration or of public order – those sorts of issues – the state has a right to qualify this right to a family life.
“What I am going to do is actually set out the rules that say this is what Parliament, this is what the public, believe is how you balance the public interest against the individual’s interest. We are going to ask Parliament to vote on this to say very clearly what constitutes the right to a family life. I would expect that judges will look at what Parliament will say and that they will take into account what Parliament has said.”
Ms May also set out new plans intended to crack down on sham marriages and prevent migrant spouses and their children entering the country only to claim benefits and be a burden to the country’s treasury.
Although the move is aimed at balancing the use of human rights law with the country’s economic well-being, public safety and reduction in crime rate, human rights lawyers are not happy with Ms May’s intended action.
Geoffrey Robertson QC, a leading human rights lawyer, said: “The government cannot use subsidiary legislation like immigration rule to dictate to judges or to trump their interpretation of Article 8.
“Parliament cannot pre-determine the results of individual cases which all depend on careful and compassionate assessment of very different facts. However merciless Mrs May may be, hard cases make bad law and politicians make bad judges.”