Northern Ireland barristers welcome U-turn on human rights
The Bar of Northern Ireland has welcomed the shelving of UK government plans to reform human rights legislation.
The proposed Bill of Rights was due to be debated in Parliament next week, but government officials have said it is now “unlikely to progress in its current form” under new prime minister Liz Truss.
Officials said the new government is “reviewing the most effective means to deliver objectives through our legislative agenda”.
David Mulholland, chief executive of the Bar of Northern Ireland, said: “The Bar of Northern Ireland has consistently expressed concern about the proposed reform of the Human Rights Act since the commencement of a review into the operation of the Act in December 2020.
“In dialogue with then Justice Minister Lord Wolfson QC, we expressed the view that government must safeguard all aspects of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement that are connected to the Human Rights Act.
“The Bar of NI also provided a detailed consultation response to the Ministry of Justice, in which we cautioned against the introduction of any measure which may limit access to justice or impede the exercise of human rights.
“That’s why we welcome the indication from government that reform of the Human Rights Act will be reviewed.
“We also look forward to constructive engagement with government on future reform measures and welcome any opportunity to set out the unique circumstances of the operation of the Human Rights Act in Northern Ireland.”