*Re the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review (reference by the Court of Appeal (Northern Ireland))

Constitutional law – Devolution. The proceedings before the Supreme Court, instituted by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, concerned the question as to whether the Court of Appeal, Northern Ireland, had correctly decided that the prohibition of abortion in Northern Ireland except where carried out in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the mother, was incompatible with arts 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Supreme Court held, by a majority, that the Commission's powers under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (NIA 1998) did not include instituting or intervening in such proceedings as they were not related to an 'unlawful' act within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998 or the NIA 1998. Accordingly, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility.

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