To shut down parliament would be simple. But it would be an outrage – The Guardian

‘The next prime minister will have the power to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit, though would he or she dare close the Commons for three months?’

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The Guardian, 13th June 2019

Source: www.theguardian.com

Unlawful arrest – inadequate grounds for suspecting person to be guilty of an offence – UK Police Law Blog

‘Where a court finds a wrongful arrest, it is often due to inadequate grounds for belief in its necessity. However, a brief judgment in Smith v Police Service for Northern Ireland [2019] NIQB 39 is a demonstration of where there is a lack of reasonable suspicion that the person arrested has, themselves, committed the offence. Also of interest is the sum for damages – £3,550 for the unlawful arrest and ten hours’ consequent unlawful detention.’

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UK Police Law Blog, 10th May 2019

Source: ukpolicelawblog.com

Wartime Opt Out Of Human Rights Convention Will Hurt Soldiers And Civilians, Campaigners Say – Rights Info

Posted May 16th, 2019 in armed forces, criminal justice, human rights, Iraq, news, Northern Ireland, war by sally

‘Campaign groups are warning that the new defence secretary’s pledge to opt out of the Human Rights Convention in future conflicts will hurt soldiers and civilians.’

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Rights Info, 15th May 2019

Source: rightsinfo.org

Military prosecutions: ‘Unfair’ investigations to be barred – BBC News

‘British troops and veterans will be given stronger legal protections against prosecution, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt will announce.’

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BBC News, 15th May 2019

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Mordaunt hints at amnesty for historical actions by UK soldiers – The Guardian

Posted May 10th, 2019 in armed forces, bills, news, Northern Ireland, time limits by sally

‘The new defence secretary, Penny Mordaunt, declared that army veterans should not be “pursued unfairly for events that took place decades ago” hinting that she favoured an amnesty for British soldiers from historical prosecutions.’

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The Guardian, 9th May 2019

Source: www.theguardian.com

Daniel Hegarty: ‘Soldier B’ to be prosecuted over murder of Northern Ireland teenager in 1972

Posted April 15th, 2019 in armed forces, murder, news, Northern Ireland, prosecutions by michael

‘A former soldier is to be prosecuted over the murder of a teenage boy, who was shot twice in the head in Derry in 1972.’

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The Independent, 15th April 2019

Source: www.independent.co.uk

In the matter of an application by Geraldine Finucane for Judicial Review (NI) [2019] UKSC 7 Part Two – UKSC Blog

Posted March 28th, 2019 in human rights, inquiries, murder, news, Northern Ireland, police, Supreme Court, terrorism by sally

‘The appellant argued that all the relevant evidence pointed to the decision not to hold the inquiry being a sham. The basis on which it had been suggested that this was a decision taken in the public interest was, Mrs Finucane argued, spurious. Moreover, the process of consultation and discussions was entirely cosmetic. The outcome had been predetermined. (See Lord Kerr’s summary of the grounds of challenge at paras 50-52)’

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UKSC Blog, 26th March 2019

Source: ukscblog.com

In the matter of an application by Geraldine Finucane for Judicial Revewi (NI) [2019] UKSC 7 Part One – UKSC Blog

Posted March 28th, 2019 in human rights, inquiries, murder, news, Northern Ireland, police, Supreme Court, terrorism by sally

‘On 27 February 2019 the Supreme Court gave judgment in the appeal brought by the widow of the Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, against the refusal of the Secretary for State for Northern Ireland to hold a public inquiry into her husband’s death. Giving the leading judgment, Lord Kerr (with whom Lady Hale, Lord Hodge and Lady Black agreed) allowed the appeal on the basis that there had been a breach of the investigative obligation under ECHR, art 2. The Supreme Court found that although Mrs Finucane had a legitimate expectation that there would be a public inquiry into Mr Finucane’s death she had not shown that the government’s decision not to fulfil this promise was made in bad faith or that it was not based on genuine policy grounds. Lord Carnwarth gave a concurring judgment in which he commented on the criticism that had been made of obiter remarks he had made in United Policyholders Group v Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago [2016] UKPC 17 in relation in relation to the necessity for a detriment to have been suffered before a claim for substantive legitimate expectation could be made.’

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UKSC Blog, 26th March 2019

Source: ukscblog.com

Pat Finucane murder inquiry fell below human rights standards, judges rule – The Guardian

Posted February 28th, 2019 in human rights, inquiries, murder, news, Northern Ireland, Supreme Court by tracey

‘The official investigation into the 1989 murder of the Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane, one of the most notorious killings of the Troubles, was ineffective and failed to meet the standards required under human rights law, the supreme court has ruled.’

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The Guardian, 27th February 2019

Source: www.theguardian.com

Birmingham pub bombings: Inquests into 1974 deaths to resume – BBC News

Posted February 25th, 2019 in bereavement, coroners, explosives, inquests, murder, news, Northern Ireland, terrorism by tracey

‘Inquests for the 21 victims of the Birmingham pub bombings are set to reopen later after a long legal fight by families.’

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BBC News, 25th February 2019

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Jack Simson Caird and Ellis Paterson: Could the UK Courts Disapply Domestic Legislation to Enforce the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland? – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted February 19th, 2019 in brexit, constitutional law, EC law, Ireland, news, Northern Ireland by sally

‘If the Withdrawal Agreement is approved, then Parliament will be asked to legislate to give domestic legal effect to its content through the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. One of the most significant provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, Article 4, purports to give the entire contents of the Withdrawal Agreement special status within the UK’s constitutional order. Even though the UK would no longer be a Member State, the effect of Article 4 (if implemented) would be to give all of the laws within the Withdrawal Agreement the equivalent legal effect of EU law within a Member State. As a result, the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (the Protocol), which forms part of the Withdrawal Agreement, would be supreme over any other domestic legislative provisions, and any provisions of the agreement which meet the conditions for direct effect would have direct effect. How the UK courts would be able to enforce this status will be determined by how the UK Parliament decides to legislate to give effect to Article 4 in the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act. It is probable that the Government will propose to give the courts the power to disapply domestic legislation inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement by replicating the effect of the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972). Article 4 of the WA, as explored below, already includes the obligation to disapply provisions that contravene EU law. This post looks at the questions that might be raised if a UK court was ever asked to disapply domestic legislation on the basis that it was inconsistent with the Protocol. The potential constitutional effect of Article 4 is worth considering in view of the short time that Parliament is likely to have to consider the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. While the UK courts have been able to disapply domestic legislation since the European Communities Act 1972 (this power was more more fully explored in Benkharbouche v Sec’y of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in 2017 – see Alison Young’s helpful 2017 blog post on the outcome) was enacted, what is constitutionally novel about Article 4 is the proposal that the courts would be able to do so when the UK is no longer a Member State.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 19th February 2019

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Case Comment: In the matter of an application by Siobhan McLaughlin for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 48 – UKSC Blog

‘It may seem somewhat Dickensian that an unmarried parent would be ineligible for social benefits as a widow/er upon the death of their partner and co-parent, but that was the situation created by the legislation challenged in Re Siobhan McLaughlin for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 48 (Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge and Lady Black). The issue under scrutiny was entitlement to widowed parent’s entitlement (WPA). WPA is a contributory social security benefit payable to parents of dependent children who are widowed; but, at the time of the claim, a widowed parent was only eligible for WPA if at the time of the death, s/he was married to, or the civil partner of, the deceased [para 1 of the judgment]. The appellant, who had four dependent children with her deceased partner, but had never married him, argued that this requirement discriminated against the survivor and/or the children on the basis of their marital or birth status, contrary to ECHR, art 14. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal majority of 4 to 1 (Lord Hodge dissenting) and made a declaration that s 39A is incompatible with ECHR, art 14 read with art 8, insofar as it precludes any entitlement to WPA by a surviving unmarried partner of the deceased.’

When Coroners are unsure – Park Square Barristers

‘The Court held that a Coroner was entitled to remain unsure about the particulars of the death of an individual who was shot by a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.’

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Park Square Barristers, 16th November 2018

Source: www.parksquarebarristers.co.uk

Brexit legal advice warns of UK being trapped by Irish backstop – The Guardian

‘Legal advice on the Brexit deal, published reluctantly after MPs found the government in contempt of parliament, warns the terms of the Irish backstop could trap the UK in “protracted and repeated rounds of negotiations” in the years ahead.’

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The Guardian, 5th December 2018

Source: www.theguardian.com

Tax tribunal rules that Arron Banks suffered political discrimination – UK Human Rights Blog

‘Banks v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2018] UKFTT 617 (TC). Donations made by Arron Banks to the United Kingdom Independence Party (‘UKIP’) are subject to a tax regime which discriminates against the donor on grounds of his political opinion, the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) has found.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 14th November 2018

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com

Case Comment: Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd & Ors [2018] UKSC 49 – UKSC Blog

‘It must be a rare moment in legal history, when cakes are at the centre of Supreme Court Knights_S_146668decisions in the same year on both sides of the pond.’

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UKSC Blog, 12th November 2018

Source: ukscblog.com

Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and others – Blackstone Chambers

‘The Supreme Court unanimously and comprehensively reversed the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal’s decision in the “gay cake” case. The Supreme Court, in a decision of considerable significance for the United Kingdom as a whole, and beyond, held that the bakery would have refused to supply this particular cake to anyone, whatever their personal characteristics. So there was no discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. If and to the extent that there was an arguable case of discrimination on grounds of political opinion, no justification has been shown for overriding the bakery’s ECHR protections against compelled speech.’

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Blackstone Chambers, 10th October 2018

Source: www.blackstonechambers.com

Stephen Tierney: Governing Northern Ireland without an Executive: Quick Fix or Constitutional Minefield? – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted October 31st, 2018 in bills, civil servants, constitutional law, news, Northern Ireland, public interest by sally

‘The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill, which arrives in the House of Lords today, is set to be enacted by way of fast-track legislative procedure this week. The Bill intends to facilitate the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland while providing for the exercise of executive functions by civil servants in the interim. In effect, the Bill suspends the statutory duty on the Secretary of State to call a Northern Ireland Assembly election. This is little more than a continuation of the present situation in which the UK Government has kept administration in Northern Ireland ticking over since March 2017. Much more controversially, the Bill gives civil servants within Northern Ireland departments general powers for the administration of Northern Ireland, introducing a public interest test for the exercise of these powers.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 30th October 2018

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Joanna Bell: The Supreme Court’s Approach to the Finality Clause in Lee v Ashers: A Response to Anurag Deb & Conor McCormick & Looking Forward to Privacy International – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd [2018] UKSC 49 (“gay cake”case) has probably not escaped the attention of any public lawyer. As Anurag Deb & Conor McCormick have usefully pointed out in a recent blog post, however, what may have been overlooked is that this case is not only important from a human rights or equality perspective, but from an administrative law perspective too. This is because the case contains a judgment, delivered by Lord Mance, which offers the unanimous court’s view on the meaning of a finality clause contained in the County Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1980.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 23rd October 2018

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Anurag Deb and Conor McCormick: Lee v Ashers: A Recipe for Jurisdictional Confusion? – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘On 10 October 2018, the UK Supreme Court handed down its judgment in Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd [2018] UKSC 49, sparking much debate and commentary. The judgment is legally important for how it conceptualises freedom of expression, and for the surprising evidence of judicial overreaching it contains. Given that others have already considered the former issue in some depth (see Chandrachud and Rowbottom on this blog alone), we focus on the latter in this post.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 18th October 2018

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org