Today, the Home Secretary - Theresa May - informed Parliament of a new treaty between the United Kingdom and Jordan which, she claims, will enable the deportation to Jordan of Abu Qatada - Parliament and BBC 24th April
It will remain a matter for the courts to determine whether the treaty actually answers the objections to his deportation.
Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the UK and Jordan
The government will be hoping that Article 27.4 provides the solution:
"Where, before the date of signature of this Treaty, a Court in the sending State has found that there is
a real risk that a statement from a person has been obtained by torture or ill-treatment by the authorities of the receiving State, and might be used in a criminal trial in the receiving State referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, this statement shall not be submitted by the prosecution nor admitted by the Court in the receiving State, unless the prosecution in the receiving State proves beyond any doubt that the statement has been provided out of free-will and choice and was not obtained by torture or ill-treatment by the authorities of the receiving State, and the Court in the receiving State is so satisfied."
The treaty has to be laid before both Houses of Parliament for 21 sitting days prior to ratification. Once the treaty is in force it will still take a considerable time for the legal processes in the courts.
Head of Legal blog - Theresa May's treaty with Jordan: this is the game changer she needs.
Addendum 25th April:
UK may withdraw from European Rights Convention over Abu Qatada - The Guardian 24th April - where it is reported that the government has considered withdrawing, possibly on a temporary basis, from the Convention. The Daily Mail (24th April) reports that:
"David Cameron is warning Nick Clegg he will get the blame if he blocks a temporary withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights to enable the deportation of Abu Qatada.
Sources close to the Prime Minister made clear he would expect the Liberal Democrat leader – who has insisted he will not countenance any suspension of the ECHR – to explain to voters why the hate preacher remained in Britain in such circumstances."
Would a temporary withdrawal be possible - rather like an opt out to the Theft Act because you like your neighbour's car? It has to be very doubtful that it is possible to withdraw from the convention in this way as a 2003 legal opinion from Lord Pannick QC shows. Legal opinion apart, commonsense and reason dictate that the convention would be rendered ineffective if States could simply opt out of their obligations in that way.
Withdrawal from (or denunciation of) the Convention is different concept to a Derogation. A State which derogates - as permitted by Article 15 of the Convention - remains within the convention system. Derogation is permitted in time of 'war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation' and, even then, derogation from some articles (e.g. Article 3 - Prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment ) is not permitted.