Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Asking the courts to ignore the law

The British government is today planning to deport a planeload of refugees back to Iraq. Iraq is not a safe place, and both the United Nations and UK Foreign Office oppose the move as violating the Refugee Convention. But there are racists to pander to, and votes on the line, and so the UK government - which includes the supposedly pro-human rights Liberal Democrats - is planning to push on regardless.

But there's one potential problem: the courts. There is a high chance that one or more refugees will challenge the decision to deport them to a war-zone, and win an injunction. The UK government has responded by warning the courts not to do their job, telling them to ignore the law because it would be inconvenient to the government:

A letter from the Treasury Solicitor's Department asks high court judges to facilitate the special scheduled charter flight by refusing to consider last-minute judicial review applications by detainees due for deportation. The flight is only the second of its kind to go to Baghdad.

In a letter dated 2 June, Andrea McMahon of the department says: "Because of the complexities, practicalities and costs involved in arranging charter flights, it is essential that these removals are not disrupted or delayed by large numbers of last-minute claims for permission to seek judicial review."

This is simply an attempt to pervert the course of justice. The law is the law, and it should not be ignored simply because the government wants to get some votes from BNP lowbrows. Deportees have a right to access the courts, and any appeal should be heard on the facts of the case - not on the political demands of the government of the day.