UK minister Theresa May blasts judges for ignoring deportation rules

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2013, 5:00am


Britain's interior minister has slammed the judiciary, accusing judges of "subverting" democracy by ignoring rules aimed at deporting more foreign criminals.

Home Secretary Theresa May, writing in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, said some judges had chosen to "ignore parliament's wishes" by disregarding guidance making clear that convicted criminals' rights to a family life had limits.

The guidance, dating from last year, was aimed at ending a string of cases where article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights was being used to justify granting foreign criminals the right to remain in Britain rather than being deported.

May said some judges had "got it into their heads that Article 8 … is an absolute, unqualified right".

"Unfortunately, some judges evidently do not regard a debate in parliament on new immigration rules, followed by the unanimous adoption of those rules, as evidence that parliament actually wants to see those new rules implemented," she wrote.

"It is essential to democracy that the elected representatives of the people make the laws that govern this country - and not the judges."

Judges who allowed criminals to stay in Britain reinforced perceptions of human rights as simply "legal dodges that allow criminals to escape proper punishment".

May said she would introduce laws making clear that deportation should be the norm in everything except "extraordinary circumstances".