HL Deb 21 May 1996 vol 572 c90WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will explain the circumstances in which the United Kingdom failed to comply, in the case of Sifiso Mahlangu, with an indication from the President of the European Commission of Human Rights (under Rule 36 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure) that the boy should not be returned to South Africa pending the determination of his application to the Commission.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)

As soon as the Government learnt of the president's request, Counsel was instructed on behalf of the Attorney-General to inform the Court of Appeal of it, and to explain that it was the practice of the Government to comply with such requests where this was within its power. In private litigation, particularly concerning the welfare of a child, it would have been improper for counsel for the Attorney-General to attempt to influence the court in the exercise of its discretion.