Euro­pean ar­gu­ments are open to dis­pute

Loughborough Echo - - LETTERS -

I READ N.J. Cu­bitt’s let­ter “Not a rea­soned ar­gu­ment” (Let­ters April 25) with in­ter­est.

The ar­gu­ments of N.J. Cu­bitt are set out ra­tio­nally but I would sug­gest are open to dis­pu­ta­tion.

In par­tic­u­lar the state­ment that “some rul­ings of the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice have been odd to say the least and could be in­ter­preted as be­ing hos­tile to the UK.

An ex­am­ple is that we have been pre­vented from de­port­ing known ter­ror­ists.”

The role of the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice is en­sur­ing that EU law is in­ter­preted and ap­plied the same in every EU coun­try.

It has not usu­ally been in­volved in dis­putes about the de­por­ta­tion of ter­ror­ists. It is pro­posed that the UK re­move it­self from the ju­ris­dic­tion of this court as part of the Brexit process.

There is an­other Euro­pean Court, the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights (ECHR). This is a supra­na­tional court es­tab­lished by the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights.

The court hears ap­pli­ca­tions al­leg­ing that a con­tract­ing state has breached one or more of the hu­man rights pro­vi­sions con­cern­ing civil and po­lit­i­cal rights set out in the Con­ven­tion and its pro­to­cols. It is this court that makes rul­ings re­gard­ing the de­por­ta­tion of ter­ror­ists.

The mem­ber­ship of ECHR ex­tends be­yond the EU and in­cor­po­rates 47 states in­clud­ing Rus­sia and Turkey (see goo.gl/WfgRMi).

The Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights was ac­tu­ally drafted by a team led by a Bri­tish lawyer, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, and fol­lows the English tra­di­tion, first set out in the Magna Carta, that pro­vides pro­tec­tion for the in­di­vid­ual against the state, and the ba­sis for gov­ern­ment by rule of law.

This ap­proach to lib­erty was to a large de­gree for­eign to con­ti­nen­tal think­ing, where of­ten the state acted as pros­e­cu­tor, judge and jury.

The cus­tom in Eng­land is “bet­ter that 10 guilty per­sons es­cape than that one in­no­cent suf­fer”. By way of con­trast Bis­marck is be­lieved to have stated that “it is bet­ter that 10 in­no­cent men suf­fer than one guilty man es­cape”, which was more in line with con­ti­nen­tal cus­tom at the time.

Hence our prob­lems with the de­por­ta­tion of ter­ror­ists have far more to do with our tra­di­tions of jus­tice than with Euro­pean in­ter­fer­ence.

In 2017 the Court ruled on 5 cases re­lat­ing to the UK and ruled against the UK in two of these. By way of con­trast it ruled on 305 re­lat­ing to Rus­sia and ruled against it in 293 cases (see goo.gl/WR2rLE).

Even af­ter we have left the Euro­pean Union, we will re­main sub­ject to the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights un­less Par­lia­ment de­crees oth­er­wise. John Catt

WRITE TO: Let­ters, Lough­bor­ough Echo, EMAIL andy.rush@reach­plc.com

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