Should The Fate of Abu Qatada Be Determined by European or British Law?
Stanley Brodie QC
Tuesday 26th January 2012: By Stanley Brodie QC, author of ‘The Cost to Justice: Government Policy and the Magistrates Courts’
Over ten years ago I and others expressed the belief that the incorporation into our law of the European Convention on Human Rights was neither necessary nor desirable. The existing rights of Englishmen, in accordance with the Common Law, had seemed good enough to protect fundamental rights.
The rights to liberty, a fair trial, freedom of speech, freedom to practise one’s religion, the protection of one’s life and property, and to equality before the law, have hardly ever been in doubt under our laws. Nor was there any real political or public dissatisfaction which called for the Human Rights Act and the European Convention to be made part of English Law. The HRA was nothing more than a political gambit from the Labour Government designed to give the inaccurate impression to the electorate that it was getting rights it did not already enjoy. At the time we forecast that the Act and the Convention would give rise to uncertainties and frivolous litigation. No one foresaw that Convention rights would be as grotesquely misapplied and misused as they have been.
The Prime Minister is therefore right to question the entire issue of the HRA and the role of the European Court. I have repeatedly advocated the repeal of the Act, and in consequence the Convention should be repealed. I do not believe our treaty obligations would inhibit a repeal, as no citizen of the United Kingdom under our laws would lose any fundamental human right.
*Stanley Brodie QC is author of the Politeia pamphlet The Cost to Justice: Government Policy and the Magistrates Courts.
See also Stanley Brodie’s letter in The Times, 26th January 2012, and also coverage of his pamphlet in The Daily Express, 15th May 2011, and The Sunday Times, 15th May 2011.