Select Committee on European Communities Tenth Report

Letter from the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association

  In response to your letter of 2 April and the latest draft of the Convention enclosed therein, I write with our submissions on the draft Convention and apologise for the delay in forwarding these to you.

  In addition to the points which we have raised in the paper we would urge the Committee to investigate with the Minister the means which the UK government proposes to adopt in order to ensure that individuals have the means to enforce the Convention's rights in UK law. The issue is particularly apposite because the Convention seeks to advance the Dublin Convention (on the Determination of the EU State Responsible for examination of asylum claims). However, the Court of Appeal has recently held that as a matter of domestic law the Dublin Convention creates no rights or obligations and there is no legitimate expectation that the government will abide by its terms.

  I also note that in Joyce Quin's letter of 18 March 1998 to the Committee, the Minister says that the UK would wish the Convention to include an optional provision for preliminary rulings from the European Court of Justice. I find it puzzling to consider how such voluntary jurisdiction could be compatible with a harmonious development of European law. That apart, your committee could perhaps find out from the Minister whether, if such a provison were included, the UK would opt to give our courts and tribunals the power to seek preliminary rulings from the ECJ.

8 May 1998

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