British judges are being blamed for weakening Britain’s position on terrorism
The barrister said the failure to recognise the human rights of British citizens left the law-abiding public in danger.
He is calling for New Labour’s unpopular Human Rights Act to be re-written in a bid to claw back power for UK lawmakers.
Human rights rulings regularly stop the Home Office deporting suspected terrorists because of fears they may be mistreated in their homelands.
And the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is trying to force Britain to hand the vote to prisoners despite MPs being overwhelmingly against it.
In a paper published by the Civitas think-tank today, Dr Arnheim said critics were too quick to blame the European Court of Human Rights for expanding its power.
“The evidence shows that it is actually the UK domestic courts which are largely responsible for this, together with a supine attitude on the part of successive British governments.
“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,” he added.
In his 42-page paper, The Problem with Human Rights Law, the practicing barrister said Britain’s domestic courts tend to “trot along” with the Strasbourg court’s line 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,” he claimed.
The evidence shows that it is actually the UK domestic courts which are largely responsible for this, together with a supine attitude on the part of successive British governments
“A trawl through human rights cases of recent years makes it clear that the UK courts treat themselves and bound by Strasbourg although they aren’t.”
There is also a failure to recognise that the cases concern rights on both sides.
Referring to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which bans torture – and is regularly used by terror suspects to beat deportation, he said: “The UK, as a signatory state, must not torture anybody.
But where does it say that the UK must also be responsible for the treatment received by someone in another country after being deported from the UK? Nowhere.
“This is a huge unwarranted extension of Article 3 by the Strasbourg court, and followed by the UK courts without exception.”
“National security and the public interest actually refer to the human rights of thousands or even millions of individuals,” he added.
“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. This needs to be spelt out in each and every relevant case.”
Dr Arnheim called for the Human Rights Act to be retitled the Human Rights and Responsibilities Act and the ditching of sections forcing laws and public authorities to be in line with the European convention.
He also recommended parliament be put in charge of overseeing changes to human rights laws instead of judges.
A MoJ Spokesman said: “While political parties have expressed views on policy directions they may wish to consider in the future, the Coalition Agreement makes it clear there will be no major changes to the human rights framework before the election.”
Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling said: “Many of us have watched in frustration as Labour’s Human Rights Act and rulings by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg encroached on more and more areas of our lives, and supported the rights of the few over the rights of the many.
“The Conservatives have been very clear how that needs to change to restore common sense and set us back on the right track.”