UK Law Tour: Report #7 Human Rights law – Carl Gardner on the Abu Qatada judgment

“All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured . . . We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights . . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that.”
-The Dalai Lama

Human rights law is, arguably, one of the most important foundations upon which our modern society is built – a subject which arouses pride in some, yet irritation and anger in the minds of others when decisions of the courts do not fit with the political or national mood.

The BBC noted some time back: A common misconception is that the European Convention on Human Rights and its institutions have been thrust upon an unwilling UK as part of the wider European project. But the reality is that the UK (which passed the first ever legislation known as a Bill of Rights in 1689) was one of the architects of the human rights agenda that grew out of the devastation of Second World War.

The European Convention on Human Rights has its roots in the philosophical tradition of universal rights which stretches back to the Enlightenment of the 18th century and the French Revolution. But the actual catalyst for creating a model set of rights in the 20th century was the Allies’ determination to bring peace to Europe.”

On a day when Abu Qatada was released on bail following the judgment of SIAC yesterday – it is noteworthy that the Prime Minister commented in clear, negative, terms:

Mr Cameron told BBC News: “I am completely fed up with the fact this man is still at large in our country, he has no right to be there, we believe he’s a threat to our country…We have moved heaven and earth to try and comply with every single dot and comma of every single convention to get him out of this country.

…It’s extremely frustrating and I share the British people’s frustration at the situation we find ourselves in,”

Mr Cameron may well feel that his government has ‘moved heaven and earth’ – but the reality is that SIAC came to a view that the government had not made its case for lawful deportation and blame for that may well lie at the door of Theresa May, the home secretary.

Today, I talk with Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal blog about the SIAC Abu Qatada decision and the wider implications for our society if we do not continue to uphold the Rule of Law – no matter how inconvenient it may be for politicians.

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version

Useful resources

SIAC judgment: read judgment

Theresa May MP, home secretary: Theresa May’s statement on Abu Qatada winning appeal against deportation:

Carl Gardner: Abu Qatada: what happens next?

10 thoughts on “UK Law Tour: Report #7 Human Rights law – Carl Gardner on the Abu Qatada judgment

  1. I don’t know what Abu Qatada’s done, or what he’s alleged to have done. But I think that Cameron was wrong when he assumed that everyone in this country wants him gone. They say that this man is evil and they say that he preached evil…………

    Would “preaching evil” have anything to do with not agreeing with what our Governments preach to us?

    They certainly aren’t “all good”, so I have to assume that not everything that Abu Qatad says is “all bad”.

    And since I was assaulted, tortured and even indecently assaulted by British Policemen, inside a UK Hospital, without it ever being brought to a court…..It’s hard for me to accept that this country is good.

    I’m a white, British, Causcasian without a criminal record and I served 9 years in the Royal Air Force. I completed my service with an “Exemplary” record. But while that may be good in the eyes of this Government, was I a decent man by going along, without question, everything the Government told me to do?

    I’m unsure anymore…….And while I would not wish to live permanently under Sharia Law, is everything that Abu Qatada says, “Wrong and everything our Government says, Right?”

    I have reasonable doubt………….

  2. If Abu Qatada is a real and present threat, and were the Government prepared to breach the Human Rights Act to remove that threat by shipping him to Jordan, there is really no check on the Government to prevent them, say, rubbing him out on the street (apart from those pesky journalists at the BBC, etc).

    Once the Government starts ignoring laws when it finds them inconvenient, there is really no saying where that might end…

  3. Here i got an information regarding the cliam process to claim an accidental amount..

    Editor’s note

    If you really can’t stop yourself from spamming law blogs – at least try and find someone who can write English.

    The IP address reveals a spammer firm in India – not terribly impressive for lawyers representing clients in personal injury cases

    I have removed the url of your firm’s claims company – I would not wish any member of the public to contact you given the above spam comment.

  4. Hmm, not sure about the Dalai Lama’s qualification as an ‘expert’ on human rights. To quote Christopher Hitchens:

    “The Dalai Lama, for example, is entirely and easily recognizable to a secularist. In exactly the same way as a medieval princeling, he makes the claim not just that Tibet should be independent of Chinese hegemony – a “perfectly good” demand, if I may render it into everyday English – but that he himself is a hereditary king appointed by heaven itself. How convenient! Dissenting sects within his faith are persecuted; his one-man rule in an Indian enclave is absolute; he makes absurd pronouncements about sex and diet and, when on his trips to Hollywood fund-raisers, anoints major donors like Steven Seagal and Richard Gere as holy.”

  5. Pingback: Morning Round-Up: Wednesday 14 November | Legal Cheek

  6. Sir,

    British law was always ‘innocent until proven Irish’ back in the day. It would appear that it has now progressed to being only three steps off of the pace.

    As for Abu Qatada, I seriously doubt that the horrible oik is lilly white, but your opening quote by the Dalai Lama is quite poignant. Park auld Abu up on a council scheme somewhere in south Wales for a week, he will yearn for pastures new soon enough.



  7. I have said it so many times before (and probably here far too often as well) but you qualify for human rights simply by being human; you are not required to be nice, honest, white ‘our sort of chap’ or indeed any other descriptor. Politicians on both sides reflect the view of many of the electorate that human rights should somehow be conditional on their chosen descriptor.

    John – I can’t quite forgive the great Hitch for his one unpardonable sin of not contriving the death in some unexplained accident of his vile brother. I mean, he must have had the chance. Otherwise very cool.

  8. I think that a Public Authority is in breach of my Convention Rights and Freedoms of the Human Rights Act 1998 and I would like to bring legal proceedings. I would like a Court to decide whether or not the Defendant is in breach of my Human Rights. I have proof of their fabrications and have witnesses supporting my situation. I have been unsuccessful so far in my search for Justice as it involves mental health authorities; so every solicitor is stating that they are not specialised in Human Rights. I am therefore in limbo as to whether or not I can get peace of mind.

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