The government’s current system for deporting foreign criminals before they have had the opportunity to appeal their conviction beaches their human rights, according to a ruling from the Supreme Court.
In a landmark case, the court ruled that having to appeal from abroad denied two foreign national criminals an effective appeal process after they served prison sentences for drug offences.
Referred to as “deport first, appeal later”, this policy was first introduced as part of the Immigration Act 2014. In the cases of Kevin Kiaire from Kenya and Courtney Byndloss from Jamaica, both of whom have previously been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, this policy meant returning to their respective countries without their families.
The men were originally ordered to be deported in October 2014 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May, who rejected claims that the move was a breach of their right to a private and family life. The men were then informed that they could only appeal once they arrived in their home countries.
Under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights it is required that an appeal system against deportation has to be considered effective. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that deporting the men before they appeal could weaken their case, and therefore is no longer effective.
As a result, the decision has been rendered unlawful by the court, which concluded that the men and their UK immigration lawyers would face difficulties in giving and receiving instruction in relation to their appeal hearing. The judge also noted that the men should have the ability to give live evidence on their family ties, which may not be financially possible if video link is considered the only option.