Deportation thwarted by 'right to family life'

More than 100 foreign criminals and illegal immigrants have used the controversial "right to family life" to avoid being deported over the past year, it has emerged.

Those benefiting from Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights include a number of violent offenders.

One was said to have been a drug dealer who beat his girlfriend and failed to pay child maintenance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Conservative MP Dominic Raab, who obtained the figures, yesterday called for changes in the Human Rights Act - which enshrines the convention in domestic law.

He said: "Before the Human Rights Act, no criminal had ever claimed a right to family life to frustrate a deportation order in this country.

"It is high time we changed the law, to restore some common sense and retain public confidence in our border controls."

Last year, a total of 233 appeals against deportation from the UK were made.

Of these, 149 were successful on human rights grounds - 102 of them citing Article Eight alone.

Just 35 were under Article Three, which protects people from being killed or tortured if returned to an unsafe country. The rest used a mix of the Articles. The figures from HM Courts Service show Article Eight was the number one reason foreign criminals or illegal immigrants managed to defeat deportation.

According to reports, other cases where the "right to a family life" was invoked include:

• A Sri Lankan robber allowed to remain here because he had a girlfriend in Britain.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• An Iraqi killer who, judges ruled, should not be sent back because he would have posed a risk to people back in his home country.

• A Bolivian man who was able to stay partly because he owned a pet cat.