EUROPE'S WAR ON BRITISH JUSTICE; UK Loses Three out of Four Human Rights Cases, Damning Report Reveals

Daily Mail (London), January 12, 2012 | Go to article overview

EUROPE'S WAR ON BRITISH JUSTICE; UK Loses Three out of Four Human Rights Cases, Damning Report Reveals


Byline: James Slack Home Affairs Editor

UNELECTED Euro judges are making a relentless attack on British laws laid down over centuries by Parliament, a devastating report warns today.

A group of Tory MPs are demanding action by the Prime Minister over figures which show the UK loses three out of every four cases taken to the unaccountable European Court of Human Rights. The explosive research will reignite the row over Europe's demand for rapists and killers to be given the vote in prison, and intensify calls for Britain to withdraw from the court's jurisdiction. The ten backbench Tory MPs say there is a need to 'end rule by judges and reinstate Parliamentary democracy'. Their challenge follows a succession of sickening cases in which terrorists, murderers and sex offenders have been awarded cash after gaining judgments against the Government.

The report, commissioned by the MPs from legal researcher Robert Broadhurst, says that since Britain subscribed to the jurisdiction of the ECHR in 1966 there have been more than 350 rulings on whether the UK has violated convention rights.

The number of judgments made against the UK is 271, against only 86 in which it was successful. In a further 50 cases the UK reached a settlement with the claimant, typically agreeing to pay out in return for an agreement to drop the case.

In the 1980s, the average number of cases concluded by the ECHR concerning alleged UK violation of human rights law was 2.6 per year. In the 1990s it tripled to 7.8 - and in the 2000s it almost tripled again to 29.3. This came after the rules were changed, in 1998, to allow individuals to take cases directly to the ECHR rather than go through the British courts.

The judgments have been blamed for allowing scores of foreign criminals and terrorists to claim they have a 'human right' to remain in the UK.

The European court has 47 judges, representing every member state of the Council of Europe including Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco and Andorra. A recent report estimated that 20 of them have no judicial experience. Many cannot speak English.

The timing of the report is crucial as Strasbourg prepares to pass judgment in three controversial cases.

In the first, prisoner voting will come before the Grand Chamber, Strasbourg's final court of appeal. Britain is fighting an ECHR ruling that the government must allow convicts to take part in elections - in clear defiance of the wishes of the UK Parliament, which last year voted overwhelmingly to maintain the current ban.

In the second, preacher of hate Abu Hamza is resisting extradition to the U.S. to face trial on terror charges, and the ECHR will rule on whether he can be sent for trial. If it refuses, the British authorities face the prospect of having to release the fanatic back on to the streets.

The final case involves three killers given 'whole-life' tariffs by the British courts, which have ruled their crimes are so grave that they can never be released and must die behind bars.

If Jeremy Bamber, Peter Moore and Douglas Vinter win their case, it will force the Government to give regular reviews to every one of the 40 or so prisoners locked up for ever - and allow them to petition for their release.

In their foreword to Mr Broadhurst's report, the MPs, headed by ex-MEP Chris Heaton-Harris, say: 'The main problem with current human rights law is that we all have to accept judges' interpretations of human rights, even when those interpretations strike us as a gross distortion of such rights. Who really believes that some or all convicted prisoners have an inherent right to vote while they are behind bars for their crime?

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EUROPE'S WAR ON BRITISH JUSTICE; UK Loses Three out of Four Human Rights Cases, Damning Report Reveals
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