Unsurprisingly, administrative law rarely appears on the ‘Human Rights in Ireland’ page. Yet there is a proud and robust tradition in Irish administrative law of procedural fairness imposed outside the criminal law context, particularly in the context of the Tribunals of Inquiry (this, indeed, with its attendant rights to legal representation, being but one of the reasons for their impressive and controversial cost). Given the lofty philosophical pedigree of natural justice (aka procedural fairness) in the common law tradition – and its elevation to the bolstered status of “constitutional justice” within Article 40.3 of the Bunreacht – it seems appropriate to note here the judgment of the High Court today in Callelly v Moylan. The judicial review taken by Senator Callelly against the findings of a Seanad Committee Inquiry into allegations surrounding his now-notorious expenses claim for a West Cork home represents an interesting development in the law of procedural fairness as it applies to public inquiries. Continue reading “Callelly judgment: High Court finds constitutional justice infringed by Seanad inquiry”
In heated Assembly debate last week MLAs took turns to pour scorn on the House of Lords decision in R (on the application of Purdy) v Director of Public Prosecutions  UKHL 45. At the end of July Debbie Purdy (pictured with her husband, Omar Puente), who suffers from primary progressive multiple sclerosis, succeeded in her judicial review seeking further guidance upon the exercise of prosecutorial discretion should her husband assist her if she chose to commit suicide. In the aftermath of this decision the Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales and the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland undertook to clarify their guidance.
Mr Danny Kennedy (UUP, Newry & Armagh) rounded on the courts as the instigators of the assisted suicide debate:
‘The present debate in the UK flows from the decision that the Law Lords made a relatively short time after Parliament had spoken definitively against suicide. That is not how the law in the United Kingdom or anywhere should be made. The courts exist to interpret law, not to make it’.
Mr Simon Hamilton (DUP, Strangford) followed with an assertion that, ‘we were seeing another example of potential legislating from the bench. That is not the way that law is or should be made in this part of the world. Law is supposed to be made by legislators such as us and enacted in the courts by the judiciary, not made by the judiciary itself’.