The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in R (Connell) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1329. The case raised the question whether Irish nationals are subject to the automatic deportation regime in the UK Borders Act 2007. Protocol 20 to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union allows the United Kingdom and Ireland to maintain special arrangements as regards immigration between the two countries, in light of the particular historical and cultural links that exist in the Common Travel Area. The Secretary of State for the Home Department maintains a policy by which he will not ordinarily deport Irish criminals to Ireland on completion of their sentence. This reflects the particular ease with which such individuals can cross the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the fact that it would not be possible to ensure compliance with licence conditions in Ireland.
The Appellant, unusually, sought to compel the Secretary of State to deport him to Ireland. He had been convicted of serious sexual offences against a child. He argued that he was subject to the automatic deportation regime in the 2007 Act and so the Secretary of State was obliged to deport him. This would have resulted in his eligibility for early release and, in practice, the inability to enforce his licence conditions in Ireland. The case turned on whether the 2007 Act regime applied, or whether EU law meant that a different approach could be taken. The Court dismissed the appeal, holding that although the Appellant, as an EU citizen, fell within the scope of section 32 of the 2007 Act. However, the exception to ensure respect for rights under the EU Treaties in section 33 meant that he was not subject to the obligation to make a deportation order, even though he was sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment. This approach ensured respect for the statutory scheme and compliance with EU law.
The judgment can be found here.
David Blundell represented the Secretary of State for the Home Department.