This post first appeared on the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights blog from the Faculty of Law at University College Cork.
Dr Catherine O’Rourke is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law at Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute. She is currently also co-coordinator of the Gender Stream of the DFID-funded Political Settlements Research Programme, where she is investigating how international law norms for gender equality influence domestic power-brokering.
In the aftermath of last week’s High Court judgment declaring Northern Ireland’s prohibition of abortion to be incompatible with UK human rights legislation in specific instances, there has been much valuable consideration of the judgment’s legal and political implications, for this jurisdiction and others. In this contribution, I reflect on what the litigation and judgment say about human rights advocacy in Northern Ireland.
This post first appeared on the European Futures Blog.
In this extended article, Jane Rooney analyses the recent Northern Ireland High Court decision that current abortion law is not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. She suggests that the judgement could have gone further in testing the compatibility of the legislation with the ECHR, and that possible appeals are unlikely to take the politics of Northern Ireland as closely into account.
On 30 November 2015 in the case of The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s Application  NIQB 96, the High Court of Northern Ireland found that Northern Irish law regulating abortion was incompatible with Article 8 (right to private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This was an historical judgement made possible through the conjoined efforts of many, including women directly affected by the legislation, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International.
Director of the Global Justice Academy and Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Edinburgh, Christine Bell, first blogged on the difficulties that repeal of the Human Rights Act would pose for the UK’s devolved settlements in May 2015. This blog builds on those initial arguments, first appearing on The Centre on Constitutional Change Blog. It has since been picked up by the UK media.
The Conservative government’s proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act (HRA) and possible withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and Council of Europe, would have far-reaching implications for the UK’s devolved administrations and relations with the Republic of Ireland. These run deep into the constitutional marrow of the nations involved; so deep that it is difficult to see how repeal of the Act could take place without their consent. The government’s difficulties in relation to, especially, Scotland and Northern Ireland are significant but different and worth reviewing separately.
Can the UK’s Human Rights Act be repealed? What would the process need? Is it even possible? What are the legal implications?
Christine Bell, Professor of Constitutional Law at Edinburgh Law School, Assistant Principal Global Justice and Director of the Global Justice Academy, offers this review of the current debate on repealing the Human Rights Act, and points readers to other available resources.
In the past few days repeal of the Human Rights Act, and in particular its devolution implications have attracted a lot of attention. Today, a new report is launched from a legal expert seminar in April 2015, on the legal implications of repeal of the human rights act (see below). The report provides the full chapter and verse, but here are a few quick points on the devolution implications, with further more detailed and reasoned resources below.