Standing and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Jane M. Rooney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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On 7th June 2018, the UK Supreme Court held that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) did not have standing under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (NIA) and Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) to challenge the legality of abortion law in Northern Ireland. This article argues that while a literal reading of the NIA exposes its inconsistencies, a purposive reading of both the NIA and HRA indicates that the NIHRC should have had standing. The article seeks to highlight the unique democratic function of the NIHRC in a consociational setting in protecting rights that are not represented along ethno-national lines. It also considers the negative ramifications that the judgment will have on women who have been victims of the legislative regime and seek to challenge the compatibility of Northern Irish abortion law with the HRA in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-548
Number of pages24
JournalModern Law Review
Issue number3
Early online date14 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Abortion
  • Victim
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Northern Ireland Act 1998
  • Consociational Constititionalism
  • Devolution


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