Sunday, February 17, 2013

And Things Were Going So Well.......

I have written previously about the Curse of the Home Office that has done for the reputations of many Home Secretaries. Theresa May has so far trodden a fairly sure path, and her stock is said be high with her party. Then today she has placed a piece  in (inevitably) the Mail on Sunday in which she makes intemperate and frankly foolish remarks about judges who interpret the law in a way that does not suit her views.

The Home Secretary, of all people, should understand that the judiciary is and must remain independent. Parliament is of course sovereign, but if Parliament wants to change the law, then it must pass appropriate legislation to do so. It is outrageous for her to expect the judiciary to bow to hints and nudges, and then to threaten judges who apply the law as it is, not how she might wish it to be.

Her outburst is pure claptrap (it has of course delighted many of the Mail's slavering commenters) but it has degraded the high office that Mrs, May holds. I really had hoped for better than that from her.

31 comments:

  1. Caging works.

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  2. There is one comment below the article that doesn't fit the Mail stereotype, here it is:

    "But I hoped that the outcome of that debate would be enough". HOPED? Ducky, if you can't do your legislative job properly, how dare you criticise others? It's time governments stopped 'hoping' that they can govern a country by having a consensual chat to a half-empty parliament... "

    Bravo, Andyman, Toulouse, non-typical Mail commenter!

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    1. Agreed. Parliament comprises rather more than what Theresa May says to the few sycophants that may have been sitting in the Commons that afternoon.

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  3. Maybe she is just passionate about the subject and frustrated by the inaction of the courts, as she sees it. All the same it, career wise, looks to be an under-considered statement.

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  4. Theresa May, dearie me, she is a lowly politician and not much of one at that. Attempting in her way, to providing a 'sound byte' for the Daily Mail/Sun readership, nowt will come of it, in the UK the imperial aegis of the ECHR remains extant and we are doomed by our own 'objective judges'.

    God help us, a maritime province in the European Soviet - is all we are.

    Scurrilous, ill thought out and an alien jurisdiction, whereby, the 'rights' of the itinerant scum and those who wish us ill - doth transcend and supplant - as they were devised, those inferior rights of the majority and law abiding population: mightily do the judges appear to approve of that.

    The deconstruction goes on apace, the cultural Marxists have done their work, the task is nigh on complete.

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    1. Sounds like Fungus is back!

      However, back on subject, it is worth perhaps recalling that under the Ministerial Code and as Home Secretary, Mrs May has a specific responsibility not only to uphold the rule of law, but to ensure that the UK complies with its international treaty obligations, including those enshrined in the ECHR (and now transposed into national law under the HRA).

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  5. Well it did come on the same day as Duncan-Smith said that graduates should stack shelves. I fear that Mrs. May is simply lining up her run for the Tory leadership race. As indeed was Mr Duncan-Smith.

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    1. Duncan Smith was leader - I doubt he will be again !!

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  6. The usual political claptrap IMHO.

    In 2010 according to HMCTS, 102 appeals against deportation on grounds of Article 8 were successful, against a total of 5,235 prisoners deported that year. In 2011, 185 against a total of 4,522 deported.

    Hardly the opened floodgates she implies.

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  7. It seems to me she is expressing the views of most of the British population !
    Judges are NOT acting impartially; the rights of the law-abiding majority seem to receive no weight at all in the jusgments I have seen, in fact the judges seem to roll over backwards when it comes to the "family life" of the appelant. Do we, the majority who want these scum thronw out count for nothing in terms of rights ?

    Sorry, but to me they are completely barmy and out of touch.

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  8. I can understand her frustration. Whilst I'm all in favour of the ECHR it can be given too literal an interpretation at times. Look at the Austrailians- they sent back a rapist who had lived there all his life- aleit much of it in klinq.
    The trouble with ECHR is it applies our rights world wide(it would seem) where in other jurisdictions there are none. Therefore people coming from shadey places once they get through the door are almost impossible to get rid of.

    We all know the mass of OUR people want these buggers out. The public are right behind getting rid of murderers and cut throats. If people like that commit these heinous crimes then they should not be suprised when they are chucked out - family or no family.

    Seems to me that if the courts are off on one( which I'm not wholly convinced) or are applying the law against the will of parliament , then parliament should pass a piece of law to clear the ambiguity. Megaphone polotics complaining about judges who cannot reply is cheap and nasty and just makes the whole system look dysfunctional.

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  9. She is pandering to the blue-rinse brigade who cheer these soundbites;"Deport foreign criminals" "Tougher prisons" "Cut police paperwork/back on the beat" etc etc.As with all ministers from both sides it's all talk and nothing actually ever happens.
    Come back here in a year and see how many criminals have been deported.Remember the Stanstead hijackers from about 10 years ago? Are they still here?
    Jaded.

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  10. 'But the law in this country is made by the elected representatives of the people in Parliament. And our democracy is subverted when judges decide to take on that role for themselves.'

    The woman is deluded. British law is now made by the unelected European Commission.

    Just wonder whether avoiding criticism of European institutions is now policy in no.10, so as to avoid the public becoming even more Euro-sceptical. Better to score a few votes by having a go at British judges, than to criticise how the ECHR has evolved, way beyond the ideals of its separate (non-EU) treaty. The conspicuous absence of blame for the European Food Safety Authority, to which powers were devolved, during this horse meat scandal, is another example.

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  11. Unfair comment. Many lawyers, justices and even judges agree with the Home Secretary that some Immigration Judges are interpreting the ECHR rather 'liberally' and neither in the spirit nor letter of the legislation. She is seeking, not unreasonably, to restrict this approach.

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  12. Will someone please find and administer the last contributor's missed medication?

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    1. I meant 13.50, of course, not 15.21.

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    2. Those would be drugs approved by the European Commission, I presume.

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  13. Theresa May was upset by the judgment of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in the Izuazu case that the immigration rules did not actually override the duty of judges to also consider Article 8. May's view is that the rules stated all that needed to be said.

    Anyone who had read the case would know that Theresa May actually WON her appeal to the Tribunal and that Izuazu can be lawfully deported.

    The government is under pressure regarding immigration. It set itself the target of reducing net migration to below 100,100 p.a. by 2015. It naturally suits Mrs May if some of the blame for not meeting the target can be placed elsewhere.

    The silence of the 'Lord Chancellor' - who is supposed to defend judicial independence - is deafening.

    I entirely agree that May's outburst has degraded the high office she holds. However, said to say, I did not actually expect better from her. She already has quite a track record for criticising the judiciary and for trashing human rights.

    Left to Mrs May, the UK will be out of the European Convention. However, it is worth reflecting that perhaps the basic purpose of the Convention is to protect us from politicians such as May.

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    1. Ms May is decrying a set of rules (the Convention) that places the "right to family life" above the protection of the public. The right itself is supposed to be a qualified right. Ms May is saying the judges have got the balancing exercise in their decision-making wrong. I agree with her.

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    2. Lord Neuberger eventually came out supporting the judciary and criticising Mrs May on March 5th. The consequent correspondence in the Telegraph on March 7th sides with Mrs. May.

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  14. Oh dear. The European Commission is not a legislature. The decision to adopt a Regulation (directly binding) or a Directive (binding in its effects) is taken NOT by the Commission, but rather by Ministers (including British ministers who can if necessary exercise their veto) in Council, and - depending on the substance and area of competence - in co-decision with the European Parliament (which is directly elected with universal suffrage). Such misconceptions about even the simplest and most basic workings of the EU not only invalidate the 'argument' being peddled above, but cast real doubt on the capacity of comprehension of its author.

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    1. You're the one that is confused (or in any case, wrong). The Commission is indeed a legislature.

      Regulations are what's called directly applicable. Directives have a two-year grace period for national legislatures to make compliant legislation. If after the two years they have not done so, then the Directive becomes "directly effective". National legislatures have no power of veto. Read up on the Factortame case.

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    2. Not only that, but the expanding doctrine of 'direct effect', promulgated by the ECJ yet absent in any treaty, means that transposition of directives into national law can be unnecessary.

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    3. Man on the Village Green is right. The Commission is NOT a legislature. This is an elementary point about EU institutions. The Commission can PROPOSE legislation, but the power to PASS legislation is vested in the Council, which is made up of one (political) representative from each member state. The EU parliament gets consulted, but does not have the final say.

      The reference by Anonymous at 0245 19.2.13 to Regulations being directly effective is true but irrelevant. nothing becomes either a Reg or a Directive without the say-so of the Council. Factortame deals with what happens after the implementation date for a Directive has passed, not with how the Directive gets enacted by the EU in the first place.

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    4. Why do people offer opinions on detailed matters when they are so wrong?

      Factortame was about Thatcher's attempt to nullify other EU countries' access to UK waters with the Merchant Shipping Act 1988. The House of Lords found it to be inconsistent with EC legislation and disapplied it.

      Regulations are directly APPLICABLE. Directly EFFECTIVE is a different thing.

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  15. As someone pointed out in the press the other day, if Home Office agencies (for whom Teresa May has direct ministerial responsibility) had acted swiftly and efficiently in the exercise of their legal powers and duties, the opportunity to acquire a family life would not have arisen in many cases. It is the general tardiness and inefficiency of the organisation over which Ms May presides that is the root cause of the problems about which she inveighs. She cannot blame the courts for decisions that were the inevitable outcome of the situations which she is herself responsible for creating.

    Nor can the courts be blamed for applying the law as it stands - that is their job. It is laziness or incompetence on the part of ministers (Teresa May again,) or on the part of the civil servants for whom they are ministerially responsible, that has resulted in the failure to introduce properly drafted legislation. Simply using ministerial nods and winks (or 'guidance') will cut no ice with judges, nor should it.

    If Daily Mail readers want to throw darts at a picture of the miscreant who has created the situation they so love to hate, the image they should pin up on the dartboard is that of the Secretary of State for the Home Department - the blessed Teresa herself.

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  16. ECHR was designed to stop the atrocities of WW2 happening again.In most parts of Western Europe it has not been needed as we haven't had too many despots and nutters running countries( of course that is a question of point of view) but it more far flung jurisdictions where life and liberty are not prised as much the writ of the ECHR does not run. Look at the trouble snding back terrorists back to Jordan- who have been properly convicted of grave crimes etc. It is frankly balmy that criminals can travel it would seem with impunity and when they land in this country they have effectively reached a place they cannot be evicted from. Contrast that with a UK citizen who's partner has died and because his 2 children who where living with the partner in South Africa they now have no family to look after them and came to the UK. NOW the UKBA are just about to chuck these kids out because the father does not earn enough!!!!!!!
    Yet we are allowing in people from god knows where and paying for their kids back in their home country-- how balmy is that.

    We need to look after our own first............then if there is anything left help others.

    Its a national scandal!!!

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  17. Balmy = pleasantly warm
    Barmy = extremely foolish

    Not to be confused.

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    1. Theresa May = Home Secretary
      Teresa May = let's say 'model'

      Not to be confused.

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    2. never been much good a spelting

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