JCHR Press Notice 03-04 No. 35

Session 2003-04                                1 November 2004

Forthcoming Publication


The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Specification of Particularly Serious Crimes) Order 2004

The Twenty-second Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights of Session 2003-04, The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Specification of Particularly Serious Crimes) Order 2004 will be published on Wednesday 3 November 2004 at 10.00 am as House of Lords Paper 190/House of Commons Paper 1212.

In this report, the Committee draws the special attention of each House to concerns it has about the human rights compatibility of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Specification of Particularly Serious Crimes Order) 2004. The Order was made under s. 72(4)(a) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 on 20th July and came into force on 12th August.

Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention prohibits the expulsion or return of a refugee to a country where his life or freedom would be threatened, subject to the exception set out in Article 33(2) in the case that a refugee, "having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community" of the country in which he is. The Order specifies a large number of offences which are to be considered to be "particularly serious" crimes for the purpose of the construction and application of Article 33(2).

In terms of parliamentary procedure, the Order is subject to "negative resolution": it remains in effect unless either House agrees a motion (a "prayer") to annul it. Such a prayer will be debated in the House of Lords on 8 November. In the House of Commons, a debate is likely to be held soon on the Order in a Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation.