Transnational Anti-Judicial Dialogue

Transnational Anti-Judicial Dialogue

Tony Blair is considering calling for restrictions on the U.K.’s landmark 1998 Human Rights Act, which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into national law. Apparently, (i) rogue judges are (ii) using international law to (iii) put criminals back on the streets, (iv) ignore the rights of victims, and (v) endanger national security. I can’t imagine where Blair, whose popularity and party standing are so low as to call into question his ability to remain in office, could have picked up his judge-bashing rhetoric.

I’m still unclear exactly how the two triggering events — a murder by a paroled rapist and the grant of asylum to some Afghan refugees who hijacked a plane to escape the Taliban — implicate the Human Rights Act. The former seems the result of penal policy and the inevitability of future offenses by some parolees. The latter I would expect to result, if not from domestic immigration policy, then from international conventions on refugees and torture rather than the ECHR. If readers can shed some light on U.K. law in these areas I would be most grateful.

In any event, the story is available here and here, with analysis here.

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Tobias Thienel

As to the first case, the killing of a woman by Anthony Rice, a convicted rapist, I have not been able to find a superior court case. I therefore tend to assume that he was not set at liberty following any remarkable reading of the Human Rights Act 1998. As the post says, it therefore appears that the murder was merely the unfortunate consequence of a simple application of the law. As to the second case, the ruling by Mr Justice Sullivan in favour of the Afghan hijackers, I still doubt whether the judge made the exact ruling that the press – especially the conservative Telegraph – attribute to him. But it is true that the European Convention prohibits the expulsion or extradition of a person to another country where the person concerned would as a result face a risk of being tortured on arrival. There is no provision in the Convention directly to this effect, but the prohibition of torture was long ago held to extend to such a rule: see Soering v. United Kingdom (1989), a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. The same court ruled in 1996 that the prohibition of expulsion or extradition in… Read more »


Please see this on Anthony Rice.

Tobias Thienel

Have done. Thank you very much.