The House of Lords committee has expressed concerns that Suella Braverman’s Immigration policies post Brexit migration laws may jeopardise the UK’s post-Brexit policing agreement with the EU, specifically regarding the sharing of DNA, fingerprinting, and criminal records.
Chair of the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Lady Hamwee, has recently corresponded with the Home Secretary to express the committee’s significant apprehensions regarding the potential consequences of the recently proposed legislation on illegal migration and data laws.
Specifically, the committee is particularly concerned that these legislative measures could result in the discontinuation or temporary halt of the security cooperation aspects of the Brexit trade agreement.
Concerns have arisen regarding the potential violation of the United Kingdom’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) due to the implementation of new migration legislation.
This convention serves as the foundation for the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
According to the agreement, either party has the authority to suspend or terminate the security arrangements outlined in part 3 of the TCA if the other party fails to uphold the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The committee expresses significant concern regarding the provisions pertaining to the termination and suspension of part three of the TCA.
The peers expressed that in specific circumstances, such as the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European convention on human rights or its inadequate safeguarding of the rights outlined within it, part three of the TCA may be promptly terminated or temporarily suspended, either in its entirety or partially.
The cautionary statement bears resemblance to the situation that the United Kingdom faced when it expressed intentions to disregard a portion of the Brexit withdrawal agreement through the Northern Ireland protocol bill.
The deterioration of relations between Brussels and London reached a new nadir, prompting the EU to consider the cancellation of the trade deal should the UK proceed with the legislation.
The legislation, which was enacted on 20 July, has faced significant criticism for its perceived inconsistency with the United Kingdom’s commitments under various international conventions, including the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
In a previous correspondence, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson expressed her view to Mr. Braverman that the bill in question was deemed to be in violation of international law.
One of the primary concerns raised is regarding the treatment of refugees who arrive in the UK via small boats.
There are concerns that these individuals may be detained and possibly relocated to Rwanda without being granted the opportunity for a proper legal assessment of their asylum claims, thereby potentially denying them their rightful entitlement.
According to Rebecca Niblock, a partner specialising in criminal litigation at the esteemed law firm Kingsley Napley, the potential suspension or termination of the justice chapter within the trade deal would yield notable ramifications for law enforcement efforts in the United Kingdom.
The legislation on illegal migration incorporates multiple provisions that, if implemented, could potentially infringe upon an individual’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Consequently, an unintended outcome of this situation could be a significant hindrance to the United Kingdom’s ability to combat cross-border criminal activities.
The individual emphasised the crucial importance of retaining access to European Union databases containing fingerprints, DNA, and criminal records, given the current prevalence of criminal activity as a global enterprise.
According to Niblock, there is a potential risk to the extradition of fugitives back to the UK if other EU countries perceive that the suspect’s rights would not be adequately safeguarded.
In a collaborative blogpost with Elspeth Guild, a distinguished migration lawyer and academic, the author expressed the opinion that the new laws would likely capture the attention of the EU institutions.
Considering the significant level of criticism regarding Immigration policies post Brexit directed towards the act from various sources such as within the UK, the Council of Europe, and UN agencies, it appears improbable that the European Union will not be compelled to utilise its powers under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to suspend security cooperation in response to this recent development.
Guild provides regular advisory services to the European Parliament, Council of Europe, and the European Commission regarding the legal aspects of migration issues.
A request for comment has been made to the Home Office.