NI: Attorney General claims Brexit could protect UK citizens from human rights abuses
Northern Ireland’s Attorney General John Larkin QC has said a UK withdrawal from the European Union would not undermine the protection of human rights.
Instead, he said it could protect UK citizens from potential human rights abuses by European Union institutions.
Mr Larkin was speaking at an event in Belfast called The Legal Implications of Brexit, hosted by the Centre for Democracy & Peace Building (CDPB) in conjunction with the Irish Centre for European Law (ICEL).
Mr Larkin opened his speech: “I think that not only would the protection of fundamental rights and liberties not be diminished by a United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union, but I think there is a prospect that the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms would actually be enhanced by such a withdrawal.”
He used the platform to launch a harsh critique of Opinion 2/13 of the European Court of Justice, which he claimed was “riddled with errors” and made the EU institutions unaccountable.
He said UK citizens were not able to refer EU institutions to the European Court of Human Rights because the EU itself is not a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Mr Larkin said: “A citizen of the United Kingdom cannot complain to Strasbourg about an EU human rights abuse.
“The same abuse - say committed by the Home Office - can be the subject of a complaint which ultimately ends up in Strasbourg.”