Northern Ireland abortion law breaches Article 8 – but not officially

07 June 2018

In its decision delivered today the Supreme Court ruled, by a majority, that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had no power to bring proceedings challenging the law. The court therefore did not have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility in this case.

However, the court then went on to express the view of a larger majority – rightly accepted by Lord Kerr as obiter dicta – that the current law is disproportionate and incompatible with Article 8 of the ECHR insofar as that law prohibits abortion in cases of (a) fatal foetal abnormality, (b) pregnancy as a result of rape and (c) pregnancy as a result of incest.

In the matter of an application by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland)

Reference by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland pursuant to Paragraph 33 of Schedule 10 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Abortion) (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 27

For the Supreme Court’s official summary click here.

For the full decision click here.

< Back to News