Standing and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Jane M Rooney


On 7 June 2018, the UK Supreme Court held that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) did not have standing under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (NIA) and Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) to challenge the legality of abortion law in Northern Ireland. This case note argues that while a literal reading of the NIA exposes its inconsistencies, a purposive reading of both the NIA and HRA indicates that the NIHRC should have had standing. The note seeks to highlight the unique democratic function of the NIHRC in a consociational setting in protecting rights that are not represented along ethno‚Äźnational lines. It also considers the negative ramifications that the judgment will have on women who have been victims of the legislative regime and seek to challenge the compatibility of Northern Irish abortion law with the HRA in the future.

Published May 2019
Frequency Bi-Monthly
Volume 82
Issue 3
Print ISSN 0026-7961
Online ISSN 1468-2230