Latest figures show only 8% of deportation appeals allowed on human rights ground only


Figures the Ministry of Justice was instructed to publish by the Office for Statistics Regulation show that just 8% of all deportation appeals lodged in 2020/21 were allowed on human rights grounds only. The one-off statistical release follows from the consultation on Dominic Raab’s proposed Bill of Rights Act, which will repeal and replace the Human Rights Act if it becomes law.

The total number of appeals allowed on human rights grounds only in 2020/21 was a grand total of 44. That is out of 568 appeals that were lodged and 126 that were allowed. Even as a percentage of the deportation appeals that are allowed, relatively few are allowed on human rights grounds only: 35% in 2021. The percentages can only be read as indicative, however, as there will be a time delay in an appeal being lodged and then heard and determined. The appeals that were allowed in 2020/21 may well have been lodged in previous years.

The figures undermine the case for reform of human rights laws. With relatively few deportation appeals being lodged at all, an average of just 35% being allowed since Theresa May’s immigration law reforms in 2012 and an average of a mere 10% being allowed on human rights grounds only, it is hard to see the need to rip up the Human Rights Act and start again.

This was not the picture painted in the Ministry of Justice consultation on the Bill of Rights Bill. Three choice anecdotes were selected at pages 37 and 38 to justify reform. Then at pages 45 and 46 “internal Home Office data” is quoted. It is this data that the statistics watchdog ordered be published.

The consultation searches hard for ways to cite some big, impressive numbers. It states that 40% of allowed appeals were allowed on human rights grounds. Well, yes. That’s because there are only two grounds on which an appeal can be allowed: human rights or refugee. The more pertinent figure is the percentage of all appeals that are allowed on human rights grounds, which for the period selected in the consultation (2008 to 2021) was just 11%. The consultation goes on to say that an estimated 70% of all appeals allowed on human rights grounds were allowed on the basis of Article 8, the right to a private and family life. Well, yes. That’s because human rights appeals are almost only ever allowed on the basis of Article 3 or Article 8. The more relevant number is 1,011 appeals being allowed on human rights grounds over a period of five and a half years, or a mere 180 appeals per year.

I can imagine that some people will say that the latest figure of 44 people a year facing deportation having their appeals allowed on human rights grounds is too many and that this is a matter of principle. But as I discussed previously, there’s nothing to suggest that Raab’s Bill of Rights Bill would actually reduce that already very small number any further.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Bill of Rights Bill is a vanity project and a waste of everyone’s time.

For convenience, we’ve reproduced the full figures from the statistical release below.

Appeal Lodged Financial Year Number of Appeals Lodged of which Number of Appeals Allowed of which Number of Appeals Allowed, Human Rights grounds only
2008/09 1,820 271 35
2009/10 1,744 389 186
2010/11 1,724 522 249
2011/12 1,613 549 323
2012/13 2,192 716 337
2013/14 2,210 622 150
2014/15 1,720 448 98
2015/16 1,280 368 92
2016/17 1,356 442 168
2017/18 2,051 616 285
2018/19 1,836 570 237
2019/20 1,326 399 187
2020/21 568 126 44
April to June 2021 81 4 1
Grand Total 21,521 6,042 2,392

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