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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Theresa May and the Telegraph act out a farce

Theresa May and the Telegraph act out a farce

The farsical Daily Telegraph carries the following contradiction between the headline and subheading.

Judges ordered to end 'right to family life' farce.

Judges are to be ordered by ministers to end the “abuse” of human rights laws which allows foreign criminals to claim the right to a “family life” to avoid being deported.

I would be alarmed living in a so-called liberal democracy by this headline. Only in a dictatorship would the notion of judicial independence be attacked. However, the headline is belied by the subheading. Our judges have not been ordered to do anything at all. Rather, a Minister is attempting to usurp the jurisdiction of the courts by making rules which it is apparently being claimed can override primary legislation.

As a lawyer I can see that this scenario could be a Brian Rix farce taking part on a political stage and starring Catwoman Theresa May and hack Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor of the Telegraph.

Notice the use of inverted commas with 'right to family life'. Given that under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, incorporated into the Human Rights Act 1998, right to family life is a human right which the UK must abide by in international law I am puzzled by the use of the inverted commas. Perhaps the editor of the Telegraph has difficulty with English? More likely the Telegraph is questioning whether right to family life should be a human right at all. There is something hypocritical about the Telegraph's stance particularly when the so-called newspaper is only too happy to rely upon Article 10 of the ECHR which guarantees the human right to freedom of expression.

In relation to “abuse” the inverted commas are correct English because it is only an allegation that human rights laws are being abused as opposed to being used. As it stands any citizen within the UK is entitled to rely upon the human rights Articles in the ECHR. This is use and not abuse.

All members of the Judiciary have to swear an oath "I will do right by all manner of people, after the law and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will."

Foreign criminals come under "all manner of people". Any rules made by the Home Secretary which seek to exclude this category should get short measure by judges if they are part of the so-called independent Judiciary.

Whilst the Home Secretary has the power to make rules, the rules cannot limit either the ECHR or HRA. Any such rule which attempts to do so would be struck down upon judicial review.

It is farsical that the Sunday Telegraph claims such nonsense is a victory for the newspaper. It would be better if the newspaper stuck to reporting news rather than engaging itself in a farsical campaign ironically called “End the Human Rights Farce”.

It maybe recalled that in the Tory party manifesto it stated that if the Tories got a majority they would scrap the HRA. The electorate obviously did not support such a move. Personally, I am surprised that any Minister who is opposed to upholding the law is allowed to hold such an office. The Telegraph reports "Mrs May, who last year declared her personal preference was to scrap the Human Rights Act altogether". You would expect someone in her position to have more respect for the law.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

me and my husband are about to put in a application for article 8, im british we been married 10 yrs sadly he drifted into crime to fund a habit, after spending 8 months of his 14 in prison he is back to his old self and regrets all he did, hes been clean over a year, how can they refuse us rights to a family life? they would be forcing a marriage apart at that, i can not go with him as my ex husband would never allow me to take his children abroad, what is classed as exceptional circumstances? the whole thing puts me as a british woman in the worst possible situation, i work he is at home with the children do they want me to be a single mother on benefits with her husband thousands of miles away?? its inhumain he did the crime, paid his time for it and has come out a better person.