The Joint Committee on Human Rights today publishes its Fifth Report of Session 2010-11, on the proposal for a draft Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004 (Remedial) Order 2010.
The Committee welcomes the proposed Order, as it removes the Act's incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights. Section 19 of the Act creates a Certificate of Approval Scheme, which prohibits people subject to immigration control from marrying without authorisation, other than in a Church of England religious ceremony. This scheme was found to be incompatible with the European Convention in the case of Baiai v Secretary of State for the Home Department in 2006. The Committee expresses regret at the four-year delay in remedying the incompatibility.
The Committee's report concludes:
- The Government provides compelling reasons for remedying the incompatibility by Remedial Order rather than primary legislation.
- It is appropriate to abolish the scheme completely, rather than to extend its scope to cover Church of England marriages, in order to remedy the identified incompatibility.
- The use of the non-urgent procedure strikes a reasonable balance between the need to remedy the incompatibility and providing time for parliamentary scrutiny.
- The Government should provide further information in its policy and legislative intentions to deal with sham marriages in lieu of the Certificate of Approlval Scheme before Parliament considers any draft Order.
Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
"We welcome the Remedial Order as it removes the incompatibility of the scheme governing the marriage of people subject to immigration control with the European Convention on Human Rights. We regret, however, the four year delay between the incompatibility being identified in the Courts and it being remedied by this Order."
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