Theresa May giving judges new deportation guidance
Published: 10th Jun 2012 03:34:30
Judges are to be given new guidelines aimed at ensuring fewer foreign criminals avoid deportation.
The move focuses on those who use Article 8 of the Human Rights Act to argue their right to a family life would be breached if they were removed.
Home Secretary Theresa May wants MPs to vote in the coming weeks on whether tighter rules should apply.
Refugee campaigners say an attempt to restrict the rights of foreigners would be challenged in the courts.
The home secretary first signalled that the government wanted to alter the way courts interpret Article 8 - the right to a family life - at last year's Conservative Party conference.
She said the meaning of Article 8 had been "perverted" and used to prevent the removal of foreign national prisoners and illegal immigrants.
However, the example she used in her speech, of a Bolivian man who she claimed had been allowed to stay in Britain because he had a pet cat, was widely criticised for being inaccurate.
* Source: Home Office
Mrs May has now decided to draft new guidelines emphasising that the right to a family life is not absolute and can be over-ridden to prevent crime, protect national security and safeguard the rights of others.
On Monday she is expected to ask the House of Commons to pass a motion declaring that the right to a family life, as enshrined in Article 8, is not absolute.
It is thought that she wants MPs to make it clear that the public interest must come first and that the right to family life is qualified by the need to protect the economic wellbeing of the country, promote public safety and cut crime.
In the past, judges have interpreted Article 8 through the development of case law.
According to the Sunday Times, government sources suggest that if the courts do not take heed, it will return with new measures, including the option of primary legislation.
BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the home secretary hoped Parliament would approve the guidelines and send a strong message to the judiciary.
However, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said that in 2010 only between 2% and 8% of foreign prisoners facing deportation won appeals on Article 8 grounds.
It said any changes would "undoubtedly" be contested in the courts.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Theresa May giving judges new deportation guidance. [Online] (Updated 10 Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1433657-Theresa-May-giving-judges-new-deportation-guidance [Accessed 25th May 2013]
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