NI: Bid to overturn sex purchase ban granted leave for judicial review

Ciarán Moynagh
Ciarán Moynagh

A bid to overturn the criminalisation of buying sex in Northern Ireland will proceed to a full hearing after leave for a judicial review was granted by the High Court this morning.

Sex worker and sex workers’ rights advocate Laura Lee is challenging provisions of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015.

The legislation was introduced as a private member’s bill by DUP MLA Lord Morrow and approved by MLAs in December 2014.

Her lawyer, solicitor advocate Ciarán Moynagh of McLernon Moynagh Solicitors, told Irish Legal News: “It was right and proper for the Court to grant leave this morning. My client firmly believes that the new legislation puts her at a greater risk of harm and scrutiny should be given to this issue.”

Mr Moynagh added: “We also believe that the real issue of human trafficking should not be conflated with sex work as this only heightens misunderstanding and leads to ineffective policy and law like what we see in the impugned legislation.

“The case will now proceed to full hearing and we trust that the Court’s findings will be evidence based and consistent with human right standards.”

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