In response to the judicial outcome of the Afghan Hijackers case: Public Law Research Paper, UUM, Malaysia

University Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)
Subject Public Law


In response to the judicial outcome of the Afghan Hijackers case (2006), then-future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, expressed that the Conservatives would “scrap, reform or replace” the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) unless the government is able to achieve an understanding to enable foreign criminals to be deported to their countries of origin.

Shortly after the High Court’s ruling that the nine Afghans who claimed asylum after hijacking a plane had the right to remain in Britain, The Tory leader asserted that it was wrong to allow “the human rights of dangerous criminals to fly in the face of common sense”.

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“Being able to balance the danger they pose to the UK if they stay, with the danger to them if they are returned to their country of origin, is no longer possible,” Cameron added, further emphasizing the compounding effect of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR/Convention) – adopted into British law via HRA 1998 – which had significantly contributed to the quandary above.

Fast forward 15 years, today, the HRA 1998 continues to remain a longstanding icon of provocation, fear and anxiety for many Conservatives. That does not exclude the current Secretary of Justice, Dominic Raab, who claims it has led to a series successful cases in court, which might be unjustifiable, illogical or unconscionable.

One of the most pronounced vexes of the 1998 Act is that it prevents the deportation of foreign criminals based on the enshrined right to family life, in line with Article 8 of the Convention.

Outline the importance of the HRA 1998 to the British constitution, and whether reform proposals, such as a British Bill of Rights (BBR), are necessary to be implemented.

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