UK paid £60m to lawyers who prevented deportation of suspected terrorists and criminals
Beyond the money paid to defence teams, the government's own legal costs totalled £28.4m
The UK has paid out almost £60 million (Dh272.8m) in legal bills to lawyers who successfully defeated attempts by the Home Office to deport suspected terrorists and criminals, an investigation revealed.
The lawyers used EU human rights legislation to succeed in their cases against the UK's Home Office.
The investigation by The Daily Telegraph newspaper revealed that £57.5m was paid out in 6,098 cases covering four years from 2014/15 to 2017/18 that involved foreign criminals, illegal immigrants and asylum seekers whom the government unsuccessfully attempted to return to their homelands.
It included the case of hate preacher Abu Qatada.
His lawyers were paid £57,000 after they initially defeated a bid by the UK to send him back to Jordan to face terrorism charges.
In addition to this, the UK then spent nearly £200,000 to protect the extremist preacher after he was deported to Jordan.
Mike Penning, a former policing and justice minister, told the paper: “The prime minister needs to add this to his list of legislation that needs to be changed.
“If these people have been convicted and are not conducive to the public good, people won’t understand why we are paying out this money to lawyers abusing the legal system rather than spending it on the NHS.”
The Government's own legal costs in the cases totalled £28.4m.
In another case, human rights lawyers were paid £600,000 after successfully claiming it was unfair to send migrants back to the EU country where they first arrived.
The Home Office said: “We have a good track record in defending judicial reviews of decisions but remain committed to learning where the Courts do not find in our favour.”
Updated: July 28, 2019 09:29 AM