New Judgment: A Reference by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland of devolution issues to the Supreme Court pursuant to Paragraph 34 of Schedule 10 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 [2020] UKSC 2 – UKSC Blog

‘This appeal arose as a result of an application made by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, Schedule 10 paragraph 34. Paragraph 34 provides that the Attorney General may refer to the Supreme Court any devolution issue which is not the subject of proceedings. A devolution issue includes a question whether a purported exercise of a function by a Northern Ireland Department is or would be invalid by reason the 1998 Act, s.24. S. 24(1)(a) provides that a Department of Northern Ireland has no power to make, confirm or approve any subordinate legislation, or to do any act, so far as the legislation or act is incompatible with any of the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.’

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UKSC Blog, 5th February 2020

Source: ukscblog.com

Guildford pub bomb police face High Court threat over files – BBC News

Posted January 22nd, 2020 in documents, explosives, inquests, news, Northern Ireland, police, terrorism by sally

‘Lawyers in the Guildford pub bombing inquest have threatened Surrey Police with High Court action over archives removed from a history centre.’

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BBC News, 22nd January 2020

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Guildford pub bomb inquest family ‘never going to get justice’ – BBC News

‘A woman who lost her soldier sister in the Guildford pub bombings has said her family are “never going to get justice” even though the inquest has resumed.’

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BBC News, 18th December 2019

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

State accountability for killings of civilians by soldiers in Northern Ireland: can the UK duck out? – Red Lion Chambers

‘On Nov 11, 2019, the Conservative Party announced rather unclear plans to take legal steps to ensure that inquest juries in Northern Ireland could not return verdicts of unlawful killing in relation to actions by UK soldiers (and presumably other state agents such as the RUC police) in operations during The Troubles. The plans also apparently include barring prosecutions for any alleged unlawful acts during such operations during The Troubles (there is no statute of limitations on serious criminal offences in the UK so this would be an entirely novel step).’

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Red Lion Chambers, 14th November 2019

Source: www.redlionchambers.co.uk

Tory plan to water down Human Rights Act to protect ex-soldiers would turn UK into pariah, experts warn – The Independent

Posted November 12th, 2019 in armed forces, human rights, inquests, news, Northern Ireland, prosecutions by sally

‘Conservative plans to water down the Human Rights Act – to prevent prosecutions of soldiers accused of murders in Northern Ireland – will make the UK a pariah, the party has been warned.’

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The Independent, 11th November 2019

Source: www.independent.co.uk

Anurag Deb: Identity: Northern Ireland’s Gordian Knot – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘ On 14 October 2019, the Upper Tribunal (UT) handed down judgment in SSHD v De Souza, immediately dividing commentators both in and outside Northern Ireland. Briefly, the UT had heard the Home Secretary’s appeal against the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) decision which had declared that the American claimant (respondent in the UT) was entitled to apply to reside in Northern Ireland under the EU Citizen’s Directive because his wife was permitted to self-identify as an Irish national in accordance with the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). British nationality, the FTT declared, could not be “imposed” on her at birth, flying in the face of the British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA), section 1 of which, it was argued, does precisely that. The UT allowed the appeal and overturned the FTT judgment, revealing a tension which goes far beyond immigration law.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 17th October 2019

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Emma De Souza: Home Office appeal of case is upheld – BBC News

‘People born in Northern Ireland remain British citizens according to the law, even if they identify as Irish, tribunal judges have determined.’

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BBC News, 14th October 2019

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

MPs call for 10-year limit on prosecution of soldiers – The Guardian

‘A 10-year “qualified statute of limitations” should be introduced to protect veterans and serving armed forces personnel from reinvestigation for alleged crimes, MPs have said.’

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The Guardian, 22nd July 2019

Source: www.theguardian.com

House of Lords passes amendment to help prevent no-deal Brexit – The Guardian

Posted July 18th, 2019 in bills, brexit, EC law, news, Northern Ireland, parliament, prorogation by tracey

‘Bill could make it illegal for a Boris Johnson administration to prorogue parliament.’

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The Guardian, 17th July 2019

Source: www.theguardian.com

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