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Northern Ireland: Bill of Rights

Volume 698: debated on Tuesday 5 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much funding they have made available for the cases to be made in Northern Ireland for (a) the need for a separate bill of rights; (b) the need not to have a separate bill of rights; and (c) the need not to have a bill of rights. [HL1549]

The Good Friday Agreement tasks the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission with advising the Secretary of State on “the scope for defining, in Westminster legislation, rights supplementary to those in the ECHR, to reflect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland”. The Secretary of State has not yet received this advice and therefore has not reached any conclusions about a bill of rights.

Pursuant to the Good Friday Agreement, the Government made a commitment at St Andrews to establish a Bill of Rights Forum to inform this advice. The forum is tasked with providing agreed recommendations to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission that will inform its advice to Government, by 31 March 2008. The forum has been given a budget of £441,660 for this purpose.