Wednesday 20 September 2023

Northern Ireland - new (controversial) legislation

On Monday 18 September, several Acts received Royal Assent (here).  Included in the list was the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland argues that - 'The legislation contains finely balanced political and moral choices. It presents us all with a real opportunity to deliver greater information, accountability and acknowledgement to victims and families, moving away from established mechanisms that have left far too many empty-handed' NI Troubles (Legacy & Reconciliation) Act receives Royal Assent - GOV.UK (

The government has published further explanation of the legislation - Explainers relating to the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill - GOV.UK (

The Bill establishes a new body, the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR). It is argued that investigations conducted by the ICRIR will be capable of fulfilling the State's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights - Arts 2 and 3.

There are reports of unhappiness with the arrangements to be made by the Act.

One possibility is an inter-State case brought by Ireland against the UK - Varadkar restates Ireland will consider taking interstate case if UK Legacy Bill is passed | UTV | ITV News.

A view has been expressed that Ireland would be advised to hesitate and consider these legal points before suing the UK over its legacy act ( A number of points are made by barrister Dr Austen Morgan.

Another possibility is legal challenges in the UK courts - Troubles legacy: Controversial bill facing more legal challenges - BBC News. Some of those challenges may, in time, find their way to the European Court of Human Rights.


Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament

Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill 2022-2023 - House of Commons Library (

Joint Committee on Human Rights 2022 - Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill (

Joint Committee on Human Rights 2015 - Human Rights Judgments - Human Rights Joint Committee (

Independent Commission for Reconciliation & Information Recovery (

UPDATE 23 September 2023

Council of Europe voices 'serious concern' over the British government failure to address legacy bill shortcomings - The Irish News

Monday 18 September 2023

Supreme Court - Rwanda Appeal - October 2023

The Supreme Court of the UK resumes hearing cases at the start of Michaelmas Term which commences on 2 October 2023 - Judicial Sittings 2023 Michaelmas Term - The Supreme Court.

Of the appeals to be heard, it will be the government's appeal relating to the Rwanda policy that come to political and public attention. The appeal will be heard from 9 to 11 October.

The Court of Appeal (Civil Division) judgment was handed down in April 2023 - Law and Lawyers: A note on AAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department ~ removals to Rwanda (

The legal questions to be decided by the Supreme Court are set out at R (on the application of AAA and others) (Respondents/Cross Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant/Cross Respondent) - The Supreme Court

The court's constitution is to be Lord Reed (President), Lord Hodge (Deputy President), Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs and Lord Sales. By October, those will be the five most senior Justices.

Currently the court has only one female member - Lady Rose. As Joshua Rozenberg notes - Justices named for Rwanda appeal - by Joshua Rozenberg ( - that is likely to change in the near future.

Biographies of the Justices - The Supreme Court

Illegal Immigration Act received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023 - (Explanatory Notes).

Further links:

Rwanda ‘tortures and murders’, supreme court asylum plan hearing told | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

Friday 8 September 2023

8 September 2022 - the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II

Looking back at the events following the death of HM Queen Elzabeth II -

The Coronation of HM King Charles III was held on 6 May 2023.

Westminster Abbey published information about previous coronations, the ceremony, and the regalia - Coronations at the Abbey  and see the House of Commons publication - The Coronation: history and ceremonial.

A good survey of the Crown and the Constitution is by David Torrance and may be seen at The Crown and the constitution - House of Commons Library (

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Lady Justice Thirlwall to chair "Letby" inquiry

On 18 August 2023, the government announced a non-statutory independent inquiry to examine the circumstances behind the murders of seven babies and seven counts of attempted murder relating to six other babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital. The inquiry will look at the circumstances surrounding the deaths and incidents, including how concerns raised by clinicians were dealt with.

Government orders independent inquiry following Lucy Letby verdict - 18 August 20203 - GOV.UK (

In a statement to the House of Commons (4 September 2023) the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said that  Lady Justice Thirlwall has been appointed to chair the statutory inquiry.

Secretary of State oral statement on Lucy Letby statutory inquiry - GOV.UK (

Lady Justice Thirlwall - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Lady Justice Thirlwall appointed to lead the Statutory Public Inquiry | Switalskis Solicitors

Terms of Reference for the inquiry have yet to be agreed.