The United Kingdom government, in 1998, put in place a set of laws to protect the basic principles of freedom of all human beings and that would serve to protect the basic rights that any human being has. These laws exist to protect all people under the authority of the United Kingdom government from discrimination from any individual or institution covering topics such as protection from slavery, protection from torture or any kind of inhuman treatment, right to security etc. The Human Rights Act of 1998 is an extension of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that was put in place for all members of the United Nations, of which the UK is a part of, and was established to set a basis for basic human rights that each government must provide to their citizens.
The United Kingdom has set forth a number of laws regarding immigration over the years that are compiled in a compendium titled the Immigration Rules. The procedures and policies defined in the Immigration Rules spans a wide range of visa categories (such as tier 1 visa UK, student visa, work visa, visitor visa, UK immigration entrepreneur visa, UK investor program, UK business immigration etc.) with each visa category reflecting the purpose of travel for any individual coming to the UK. A person who wishes to travel to the UK for the purpose of study will have a different category of visa (tier 4) that he / she will be applying on, as compared to a person who wishes to enter the country for business purposes or any other reason in fact. There are 5 visa types titled Tier 1 visa, Tier 2 visa, Tier 3 visa, Tier 4 visa, Tier 5 visa. Out of these, the Tier 3 visa is currently not being implemented by the UK government. All other visa types are active and define different categories of visa such as tourist visa, student visa, business visa, general visa etc.
The relationship between the immigration laws of the United Kingdom and the Human Rights Act of 1998 is very closely intertwined due to the nature of the laws they define. One might say that the decisions taken by the UK Immigration Office (Home Office) have to be taken while taking the Humans Rights Act under consideration. Several examples exist of decisions taken by the Secretary of State who heads the Home Office to have been reversed by an appeals court as it defines the Humans Right Act of 1998 which the UK government is obligated to comply with.
The Humans Right Act of 1998 has been divided into several sections defined as “articles” covering the content of the Humans Right Act such as banning slavery, Protection of Right to Life, Prohibiting torture etc. The following article shall explain the nature of the act by covering Articles 6 to 8 in detail so that the reader might grasp a general idea of the relationship.
This act applies to all individuals whether foreign or national to the UK. This implies that any person who might have entered the country on any visa category (such as tier 1 visa UK, student visa, visitor visa, UK immigration entrepreneur visa, UK investor program etc.) and whether they stay for a limited or indefinite period of time will have these laws also apply to them. It is also applicable on individuals who are currently illegally in the country.
Article 6 – Right of every individual under the authority of the United Kingdom to be given a fair trial (under a reasonable period of time)
This article of the Humans Right Act makes it obligatory on any trial court making a decision on a case regarding any individual to reach a conclusion that is fair, impartial, and not based on factor of discrimination. The article defines this right of all individuals under the authority of the United Kingdom to be a civil right that is to be respected by all courts and the government. The article also makes it obligatory on the court conducting the trial to give every basis of freedom to the individual to plead his / her case and be heard along with making it an obligation on the court to finish the case in a reasonable period of time and not have it unnecessarily delayed.
The article grants the public and the press the right to be aware of all cases tried and concluded by a court. However, the article does set limits as to how much details of the case might be released to the public depending on several factors involved. One factor is one of moral principles that might be compromised if a certain part of the trial were to be made public. The other factor involves maintaining the public order of the country by excluding part(s) of the decision. This also takes into account security concerns of a democratic country. The article sets forth certain criterion even for convicted criminals, so that their personal is not compromised or life put in danger if any information from the court trial were to be made public. It is the opinion of the court that shall determine the content that will be released where as they have also the power to censor information from the public and the press if they feel would influence the verdict when the court trial is still in progress.
The article also sets forth an obligation that all the courts must abide by to presume all individuals to be innocent of any wrong during the time they face charges and the trial procession. It is only when significant evidence convicts them of a crime that the individual will be considered guilty in accordance with law.
According to this article, all individuals that have charged of any offence that is considered criminal in the UK have the following rights until a decision is reached on their offence:
Note that this article also applies to any person who can prove to the UK government that if they go back to their home country and case is tried against them there, it will be on discriminative grounds and will not be fair, impartial and just. As an example, the case of Abu Qatada can be researched which deals with this very scenario.
Article 6 also applies when it is felt that the accused individual will not see his / her case resolved in due time.
Article 7 – Protection from all forms of punishment until ordered by a court of law
Article 7 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 guarantees that no person shall be subjected to any form of punishment by any person or institution (be it government or non-government) until a court of law has rightfully ordered so. This means that no person will be held guilty of an act that is not criminal in nature, in accordance with UK or international law (that applies at the time of the act being committed). Also, no punishment will be imposed on a person found guilty of a crime that is harsher than what is required by the law (that holds at the time of the crime being committed).
The article also states that no court of UK will have the authority to give any person found guilty of a crime a punishment that is prejudiced in nature. It also implies that no person shall be found guilty of a crime that was not a criminal offence at the time the act was committed as it will be violating on his / her basic rights.
Article 8 – Guarantees all individuals privacy for their personal life as well as right to family life, home and an association
Article 8 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 states that every individual will have the ability to live a life where his / her privacy is guaranteed as a right. It also gives the individuals the right to a family, a home and his / her association.
The article guarantees that no individual will be deprived of this right unless it proves to be necessary to maintain public order, to maintain the economic stability of UK, for national security concerns, to prevent acts of a criminal nature or disorder, to protect the health of any individual, to protect the moral values of the general public, or to safeguard the basic principles of freedom and human rights of other people.
This article can be used by individual if it is to be proved to the UK government that his / her removal or leaving the country will have serious consequences on his / her private life. As such, this article of the Humans Right Act can help individuals with significant grounds to remain in the country. Also, if it is proven by the individual that his / her removal will result in the person being separated from family, and it is not possible for his / her family to also move with the individual, then a case can be made under which the person might be allowed to stay in the UK.
Under UK law, a family member includes the following: