This written ministerial statement on Abu Qatada was laid in the House of Commons on 10 May 2012 by Theresa May, and in the House of Lords by Lord Henley.
Yesterday, the panel of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights met and rejected Abu Qatada’s request for a referral of the Court’s 17 January judgment to the Grand Chamber.
This decision means that the Rule 39 injunction preventing Qatada’s deportation has now been lifted, and our deportation action against him - through the UK’s courts - can now resume. As I told Parliament in my oral statement on 17 April, the assurances and information we have received from the Jordanian authorities mean that we can be confident that Qatada will be deported within the law, although the process could still take many months.
There are now two routes open to us. The first is to certify his appeal as clearly unfounded. This would prevent him having a SIAC appeal before deportation. The bar for certification is set very high. It would apply only when an immigration appeal is bound to fail, and it is a decision which could be challenged by way of judicial review.
The alternative, if the case is not certified, is that Qatada may appeal my refusal to revoke his deportation order, resulting in a further hearing before SIAC with the potential for further appeals on points of law domestically and to the ECHR.
I am taking legal advice on these options and will make a decision shortly.
The panel of five judges also found that Qatada’s application was in time. We disagree with that finding. We will write to the Court reiterating our understanding of the deadlines for seeking referrals to the Grand Chamber. We will also request that the Court publishes clear guidance on this timing point for future cases.
Date: Thu May 10 11:07:05 BST 2012