Commission comments on reinstatement of own motion powers
The Commission welcomes the reinstatement of its own motion powers, as set out in Schedule 3 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.
In June 2018, a judgment by the UK Supreme Court resulted in the Commission losing the ability to take a case of public interest in its own name, meaning that the Commission was limited to supporting a human rights case taken by an individual victim.
The Commission viewed the ability to take a case in its own name, without the need to rely on a victim, as an important part of its function to bring proceedings involving laws or practice relating to the protection of human rights. These powers also provided a safeguard for any known or potential victims that their issue would be challenged in the public interest, without the need to put them through immeasurable personal stress as a result of the legal process.
The Commission was politically supported in its views and, consequently, the required amendment to sections 71(2B) and 71(2C) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 was included within Schedule 3 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.
For further information please contact Claire Martin on: (028) 9024 3987 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
1. The NI Human Rights Commission is a statutory public body established in 1999 to promote and protect human rights. In accordance with the Paris Principles the Commission reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of measures undertaken by the UK Government to promote and protect human rights, specifically within Northern Ireland.
06 Apr 2020