A pattern is starting to emerge. The British government does not display a lot of respect for the law.
- In 2016, the High Court ruled that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval. See for example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37857785
- In 2016, the Court of Appeal ruled the government’s cuts to legal aid for victims of domestic violence ‘legally flawed’. See for example http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/court-of-appeal-rules-against-government-cuts-to-victims-of-domestic-violence-a6881116.html
- In 2016, the High Court ruled for the second time in 18 months that the government’s plans to tackle air pollution did not hold up. See for example https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/02/high-court-rules-uk-government-plans-to-tackle-air-pollution-are-illegal
- In 2017, the Home Office ignored one court order and attempted to set aside another in the deportation of someone to Afghanistan, only to see itself forced by another court order to collect the person in question in Afghanistan, escort him to an airport and whisk him out of the country to which he had been deported. See for example https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/sep/18/samim-bigzad-asylum-seeker-deported-illegally-to-afghanistan-is-returned-to-uk. Ignoring the first court order was prima facie contempt of court, according to Mr Justice Jay.
- That made Amber Rudd the third Home Secretary to be held in contempt of court. See for example https://www.lawcareers.net/Information/News/Amber-Rudd-in-contempt-of-court-for-ignoring-judges-order-not-to-deport-asylum
- In 2012, Theresa May was held in (civil) contempt of court in her role of Home Secretary, making her the second Home Secretary in British history to be held in contempt of court. (The first had been Barker in the 1990s, another Conservative.) See for example http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/22/theresa-may-found-guilty-_n_1617906.html and https://www.duncanlewis.co.uk/publiclaw_news/Contempt_of_Court_%E2%80%93_second_strike_for_the_Home_Secretary__(13_July_2012).html
- In 2013, however, the UK Treasury challenged the EU’s bonus cap for bankers through the courts. See for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24273838 The BBC commented:
- In that same year (2013), a report stated that the UK was a “leading offender” with regard to tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions (which has 2 billion “victims” in the Commonwealth). “The UK is the most important player in the financial secrecy world.” See for example
- In 2016, the Court of Appeal ruled the so-called bedroom tax unlawful. See for example http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/court-appeal-rules-%E2%80%98bedroom-tax%E2%80%99-unlawful
- In 2017, the High Court did find for the government concerning arms sales to Saudi Arabia, however, on the basis of secret evidence. See for example
- In 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled cuts to legal aid for prisoners unlawful. See for example
- In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that fees introduced by the government four years ago for workers when they lodge a new employment tribunal case were illegal. See for example https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/supreme-court-rules-against-government-over-employment-tribunal-fees-/5062220.article
- In 2017, the High Court ruled against the government with regard to its tactic of deporting homeless people if they were found to be foreigners. See for example https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/high-court-rules-against-governments-rough-sleeper-removal-policy-53600
- Also in 2017, the High Court ruled the government’s redefinition of torture in immigration detention policy unlawful. See for example http://www.medicaljustice.org.uk/high-court-rules-government-redefinition-of-torture-in-immigration-detention-policy-is-unlawful/
- In 2017, the High Court ruled the government’s benefit cap unlawful.
See for example: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefit-cap-judicial-review-welfare-payments-government-loses-lawsuit-court-case-judge-misery-a7802286.html
- In 2018, the Home Office made the decision to deport someone to Afghanistan within 15 minutes after the decision allowing him to continue his appeal, in spite of prior reassurances that he could await the outcome of this appeal in Britain. This is not illegal (yet), but it was unethical (and the campaigners kept some details of the Home Office’s behaviour quiet, apparently out of a fear that releasing those details might do more bad than good). See for example http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/journalnewsindex/15894362.Refugee_sent_back_to_Afghanistan_after_legal_battle_collapses/
- In 2016, the Department of Work and Pensions set about to change the law in order to be able to ignore the outcome of a tribunal. In 2017, the High Court called it “blatantly discriminatory”. In 2018, the DWP decided not to appeal but to review the decisions for 1.6 million disabled citizens, which will eventually lead to back payments (to November 2016) to between 160,000 and 220,000 people. See for example: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/up-164000-people-higher-disability-11879582
- Also in 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled the so-called Snooper’s Charter – mass surveillance – unlawful. See for example http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/30/court-appeal-rules-snoopers-charter-unlawful-7273823/
At least one judge has commented that the government is wasting the tax payers’ money as well as judicial capacity.
The pattern shows unequivocally that the British government goes after the most vulnerable in British society and seeks to protect the wealthiest in society.
Apparently, the Lord Chancellor has the task of ensuring the government’s compliance with the rule of law. As of the beginning of this year, that is David Gauke, appointed by HM the Queen on advice of the Prime Minister. So the Prime Minister recommends who gets to monitor the legality of her own government’s actions? Hmm.
His predecessors were Chris Grayling (2012-2015), Michael Gove (2015-2016), Elizabeth Truss (2016-2017) and David Lidington (2017-2018). All Conservatives.