The current tide of panic about the Human Rights Act and the courts that interpret it is almost entirely misplaced. When a serious criminal is released on licence and reoffends, that is neither the responsibility of the courts which sentenced him nor of the act (the parole system was in operation for a generation before 1998). When a judge rules that a detainee should not be deported to a country that uses torture, that is not an act of judicial prissiness but the strict and proper enforcement of an international obligation rightly entered into by the Conservative government in 1985 which has absolutely nothing to do with the Human Rights Act. And when a court rules that a group of hijackers should not be deported to Afghanistan, that is an entirely proper (but appealable) exercise of judicial judgment of the kind for which courts have always existed.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Adrift on a tide of panic
The Guardian is disgusted by Labour's new willingness to play along with the hysterical tabloid campaign against human rights: