Abortion and human rights in Northern Ireland [updated]

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal by the Attorney General, John Larkin QC, against the Order made by Horner J at first instance in which he held that the abortion law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 in the circumstances where the foetus was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality or where the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. It quashed the declaration and concluded, by a majority, that the Court should not intervene in what was a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly to decide. Continue reading

Tynwald and the Bishop of Sodor & Man

In this guest post, Peter Edge, Professor of Law at Oxford Brookes, comments on the latest instalment of the debate on the position of the Bishop of Sodor and Man in the Manx legislature.

The Isle of Man is a largely autonomous territory of the UK Crown, with its own legislature, Tynwald, which has very extensive powers. Tynwald regularly meets as a single body, but much of its business, especially its legislative business, happens in the two Branches: the directly-elected House of Keys, consisting of 24 MHKs, and the Legislative Council. The Council, formerly composed of Crown officers, is now mainly composed of MLCs appointed by the House of Keys. Two Crown appointees remain in the Council, however: the Attorney General (who contributes to debates but does not have  a vote), and the Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, who has both a voice and a vote. Continue reading