Would Paddington Prefer Christmas Island?

Would Paddington Prefer Christmas Island?

I’m sure most of us will go see the live-action movie version of PADDINGTON, which recently hit the big screen. And we will do so, of course, because we are interested in what Paddington’s residence status says about the UK’s harsh immigration laws. Fortunately, Colin Yeo has prepared a nice primer for us at the Free Movement blog, run by the excellent Garden Court Chambers. Here’s a snippet:

Paddington stows away and deliberately avoids the immigration authorities on arrival. He is in formal legal terms an illegal entrant and as such commits a criminal offence under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971. It is an offence punishable by up to six months in prison. If or when detected by the authorities it is more likely he would simply be removed back to Peru than that he would be prosecuted, though. To avoid that fate he would need to make out a legal basis to stay.

Incidentally, for offering a home to Paddington — or harbouring him, as the Home Office would have it — Mr and Mrs Brown could potentially face prosecution under section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971, entitled “Assisting unlawful immigration to member State”.

Yeo goes on to explain why Paddington will have a difficult time justifying his illegal entry into the UK — and will probably end up in a poorly-run private detention centre. (Do I hear sequel? Perhaps it could be entitled PADDINGTON MAKES A NEW FRIEND.)

It could be worse, though. Paddington could’ve tried to sneak into Australia. If he had, he’d likely be sent to the ironically-named Christmas Island, Oz’s very own prison camp.

Environmental Law, Europe, International Human Rights Law, Trade & Economic Law
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Kate Regier
Kate Regier

Paddington Bear illegally entering the UK would have likely not happened if he wasn’t so beloved. Of course, even if he was arrested, he could probably show a legal basis for remaining in the UK as many UK stores – such as Harrod’s and Fortnum and Mason – have borrowed and are commericializing Paddington’s likeness. Paddington has legitimate business interests to remain in the UK. It’s a wonder why he didn’t try to enter the country legally; he clearly wouldn’t have had a problem as he has legitimate reasons to be there.
I thought this article was hilarious. It actually made UK immigration statutes very relatable, and I know that UK takes immigration very seriously (there’s even a show on TV in England called “UK Border Force” where members of the Border Force hunt down people that are in the country illegally.) I think cute articles like this that have some sort of relatable “gimmick” allows people to enjoy reading about legal issues a little more easily. I learned something about law in the UK, and I also got to read about Paddington Bear. Win, win!