NI: Leave proceedings in bid to overturn sex purchase law adjourned

Ciarán Moynagh of McLernon Moynagh Solicitors
Ciarán Moynagh of McLernon Moynagh Solicitors

A legal challenge to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 was adjourned for over three weeks at a hearing in Belfast this morning.

Sex workers’ rights advocate Laura Lee applied for a judicial review in a bid to overturn provisions that criminalise the purchase of sexual services.

The Department of Justice is the respondent in the case.

Mr Justice Maguire, sitting in the High Court in Belfast, agreed to adjourn proceedings until 14 March on the application of Attorney General John Larkin QC.

The Attorney General’s representative told the court that Mr Larkin had only yesterday received instructions to act on behalf of the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).

The Attorney General intends to resist leave and has been given two weeks to file an affidavit explaining the delay in raising issues as well as present a skeleton argument.

Solicitor Ciarán Moynagh of McLernon Moynagh Solicitors told Irish Legal News: “It is very frustrating that a last minute issue delayed leave proceeding this morning.

“This is particularly true given the Department of Justice position of not resisting leave as the case was arguable and accepting that they are the appropriate named respondent in these proceeding.”

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