Last evening, saw the launch of James Hanratty book “ The Making Of An Immigration Judge” to a crowded audience at The Athenaeum Club in Pall Mall. Here is my address to mark this memorable occasion.


Distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman, this  evening’s gathering today cannot be more timely or topical. As more and more migrants fleeing tyranny and war arrive on the shores of Europe causing havoc, the continent is facing an unprecedented crisis that is likely to destabilise the whole region. With such huge numbers hoping to be resettled and start a new life, how should the UK respond? The quandary is not an easy one to resolve.

With 16 years’ experience as an immigration judge, James Hanratty has seen the plight of migrants first hand and made decisions that changed lives forever. Part memoir, part meditation, The Making of an Immigration Judge is written by a man who is fully versed with the country’s courtrooms and the realities of the immigration conundrum.

Drawing on a lifetime spent in the justice world, from his early days as a law clerk in Derbyshire to working at the House of Lords and the Royal Courts of Justice, James Hanratty’s story is at once personal and profound. He vividly recalls life in the law with a unique and authoritative insight into the ongoing debate dividing our politicians and troubling the conscience of both the UK and Europe. To add to his vast experience, he was instrumental in the British Handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

To enlighten the reader further, he says: ‘It is important for a judge, even in unmeritorious cases, to be kind, charitable and compassionate to those involved. As Seneca observed, invective against a man in his trial is disgraceful. One cannot blame half the world for wanting a better life but that is not sufficient reason in law for a person to be allowed to enter or stay here. Being kind and compassionate does not mean that the judge must leave common sense at the door of the court and be gullible and frankly stupid on the bench. There is a vast industry out there of people smugglers, agents and bent lawyers taking advantage of appellants. Some appellants play the system themselves.’

His words bring a sombre reality to the present situation which, quite frankly, we cannot ignore.

To mark the publication of this book, I can only urge everyone assembled here today to kindly dip deep in their pockets and pay tribute to the judge by arming themselves with more than one copy. This will enable them to spread the good word and make the author feel appreciated and content.




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