UK Law Lords say government rules to ban sham marriages wrong

July 31st, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown

London, July 31 (ANI): Britains Law Lords have termed the Gordon Brown Governments move to introduce rules to ban sham marriages as a breach of human rights.
The ban was introduced by former Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2004, amid concerns that thousands of people a year were using sham marriages to stay in Britain.
The regulations required people not legally settled in the UK to seek special permission to marry.
These rules applied to couples even though one of them might have a legal right to be in the country.
However, according to The Telegraph, these regulations are now being termed as illegal by the countrys top courts.
Yesterday the Law Lords agreed, saying they were an “arbitrary and unjust interference” with human rights.
Baroness Hale said: “Denying those benefits to a couple whose relationship is genuine is neither a rational nor a proportionate response to the legitimate aims of a firm and fair immigration policy.”
She said the right to marry was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights.
“My Lords, this scheme is an arbitrary and unjust interference with the right to marry,” she said.
Lord Bingham added that the right to respect for family life under the European Convention gives a measure of protection to some people having limited or no leave to enter or stay in the UK but who marry here.
Home Office figures show that the number of suspected sham marriages has fallen from 3,500 in 2004 to as little as 400 last year.(ANI)

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