Increasing use of Human Rights Act to escape deportation
The Human Rights Act is being invoked in a growing number of court cases, fuelling Conservative MPs anger over the coalitions failure to repeal the controversial law.
By James Kirkup
The Telegraph (U.K.), May 20, 2010
New figures from Sweet and Maxwell, a legal data firm, showed the act was used in asylum and immigration cases 51 times in the 12 months to October 2009. In the previous year, there were 38 cases.
Overall, the number of court cases where the Act was involved rose from 327 to 348.
Among the cases, which were all opposed by the Home Office in court, were offences involving sex and violence.
Earlier this week, a tribunal ruled that two men accused of terrorist offences could not be deported to Pakistan for fear that their rights under the Act could be at risk.
In January an Iraqi immigrant who stabbed two doctors to death won the right to stay in Britain after a judge ruled that he would pose a danger to the public in his homeland.
Learco Chindamo, 28, who killed Philip Lawrence, a head teacher, in 1995, is free to stay in Britain after lawyers claimed that deportation would 'breach his right to a family life'.
Companies have added to the rise. The number invoking the Act in court cases has almost doubled to 19.
Conservative MPs criticised David Cameron yesterday over his failure to deliver on a manifesto promise to replace the controversial legislation with a Bill of Rights. In 2007, Mr Cameron called the Act 'a glaring example of what is going wrong in our country'.
However, as part of the coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats, who supported the Act, Mr Cameron has agreed instead to set up a review of the legislation.
Bill Cash, a Tory MP and former shadow attorney general, said the Conservatives should insist on scrapping the Act. 'Our manifesto commitment was crystal clear. It said that we would replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights,' he said.
'We want things to work, we want stability, but there are also these democratic questions about being elected on manifesto commitments.'
Andrew Rosindell, a Conservative backbencher, said Mr Cameron should not have accepted the compromise on the Act. 'I support the coalition but we cannot be held to ransom every time we want to get something through that they dont like,' he said.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, suggested that it was still possible that the Act could be scrapped as a result of the review, but a former Tory minister said the party leaderships assurances were worthless. 'Theyve sold us down the river, plain and simple,' he said.