Britain’s courts are ‘seriously weakening’ the fight against terrorism by ‘trotting along’ with politically correct rulings from European judges, a new study claims.
UK judges are on an ‘expansionist binge’ which has led them to implementing human rights laws made in Strasbourg on crucial national security issues including deporting terror suspects and control orders.
By applying and interpreting Euro legislation, the unelected judiciary is ‘meddling’ in policy decisions made by Parliament which amounts to a ‘denial of democracy’, according to a report by the influential Civitas think-tank.
It calls for a shake-up of the Human Rights Act to prevent further ‘power grabs’ by the British courts encroaching into areas that should be left to the Government and MPs.
The report, published today FRI, blasts Britain’s left-leaning judiciary for being ‘too willing’ to apply rulings from the European courts in the UK, rather than simply taking them into account.
Barrister Michael Arnheim, who wrote the study The Problem With Human Rights Law, said the situation was hampering the Government’s ability to protect our borders by fighting terrorism and illegal immigration – putting innocent lives at risk.
In one high-profile case, the Court of Appeal ruled in 2008 that deporting hate preacher Abu Qatada would breach his human rights, because evidence to be used against him on trial in Jordan may have been obtained through torture.
The firebrand Muslim cleric, described as Al Qaeda’s spokesman in Britain and who spouted bile on the streets on London, was finally returned home in 2013 after a 12-year legal battle which cost taxpayers millions of pounds.
Meanwhile, British judges have been blasted for weakening now-defunct control orders and the replacement Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpims) which were introduced to impose rigid restrictions on terror suspects who could not be prosecuted or deported.
It fuelled concern that the judiciary was chiselling away at measures to protect the UK from jihadists.
There has also been outrage over cases in which criminals have avoided deportation by pleading that their removal would breach the family life clause of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Among them was Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, a failed asylum seeker who ran down and killed 12-year-old Amy Houston – and fled the scene – while disqualified from driving. A judge subsequently allowed him to remain here because he had two children with a British woman.
In his report, Mr Arnheim said: ‘The domestic courts are on an expansionist binge, which has never been checked by the government or parliament.
‘Continued failure to check this development will result not only in a serious weakening of national defences against terrorism and illegal immigration, but will also amount to a denial of democracy.
‘National security and the public interest actually refer to the human rights of thousands or even millions of individuals.
‘Preventing the government from detaining or deporting potentially dangerous individuals may result in the violation of the individual rights to liberty or even to life of thousands of law-abiding citizens.’
The report says that UK domestic courts tend to ‘trot along’ rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights because it is ‘politically correct’.
‘More and more English judges are now starting to pooh-pooh the age-old British constitutional principle of the sovereignty of parliament and the rule that legislation and policy decisions are no-go areas for the courts,’ Mr Arnheim wrote.
But he also criticised successive ‘supine’ governments for ‘lacking the courage’ to stand up to the judiciary.
Demanding reform rather than the scrapping of the Human Rights Act, he said it was imperative that ‘clear limits’ are imposed on the ability of judges to interpret and extend the scope of European human rights laws.
At last year’s Tory party conference, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has gone further by pledging to scrap Labour’s Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights if the Conservatives win the election.
Under explosive plans to seize back sovereignty over human rights from Europe, this would ignore verdicts by Euro judges it does not agree with in a bid to reinstate the primacy of Parliament.
He said if Strasbourg objected, the UK would resign from the European Court of Human Rights and ‘walk away’