UK government keen to keep control of immigration decisions

Published: 20/11/2011

British Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Justice are concerned about the current power of the European Court of Human Rights to overrule British judges.

In a proposal that could support their concerns and allow UK courts to make more autonomous decisions, the UK is set to allow its own judges to have the final say when it comes to immigration cases.

Secretary of State for Justice Ken Clarke is clear that by allowing UK judges to make the ultimate decision in British immigration cases, it would end the current situation where “everybody who’s just lost his arguments about deportation should be able to go there [the European Court of Human Rights] and get in the queue, wait a few years to get it all reheard again when he’s lost the argument three times already.”

Ken Clarke supports the proposed major reform to the current legal system which would stop individuals repeatedly challenging their UK ruling for deportation. He added, “What we are trying to do is get the role of the court sorted out so that it deals with serious human rights issues of the kind that require an international court.”

He continued, “We want the court back to its proper business as an international court which takes up serious issues of principle when a member state or its courts, or its parliament, are arguably in serious breach of the (European Human Rights) convention.”

The UK government is keen to ensure that the term ‘human rights’ is not misused and allowed to be a ‘catch all’ defence for anyone whose UK marriage visa application or other immigration status has been turned down already by UK courts. The proposed change is expected to be debated and confirmed at a conference in London in April 2012.

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