Deportation order 'was not contempt'

(First Edition)

A CONTEMPT of court action against Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, and his predecessor Kenneth Clarke, over a decision to deport a Sikh woman failed at the High Court yesterday, writes Jason Bennetto.

The case was brought on behalf of Dalvinder Kaur, 22, from Nottingham, who was appointed legal guardian of her six brothers and sisters following their parents' deportation. Theirs was the first case in which wardship proceedings have been used to prevent the removal of the children from Britain.

Yesterday's charges followed an attempt by the Home Office to have Ms Kaur deported. The deportation order was rejected on appeal.

Lawyers for Ms Kaur argued that Mr Howard and Mr Clarke were in contempt of the wardship proceedings because they had put the children's welfare at risk.

The case was seen as an important test of new law spelt out by the House of Lords last year when for the first time a minister - Kenneth Baker, then the Home Secretary - was held to be in contempt for defying a court order banning deportation of an asylum seeker.