Human Rights and Equality Commission Appears Before Supreme Court in Right to Fair Trial Case

Commission Appears as Amicus Curiae in Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today appeared before the Supreme Court as amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in an internationally significant case relating to the European Arrest Warrants system and the right to a fair trial.

The Commission, in its legal submissions to the Supreme Court published today, has sought to assist the Court by considering the importance of EU law, in particular the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, in the context of extradition proceedings between EU Member States.

The case (Artur Celmer v. Minister for Justice and Equality) had been appealed directly from the High Court to the Supreme Court as it is of significant public importance. It centres on the requested extradition of Mr. Artur Celmer, a Polish national, to Poland under the European Arrest Warrant system, where concerns have been raised by Mr. Celmer over the impact of recent legislative changes in Poland on the independence of the judiciary, the courts and the Public Prosecutor. These changes, according to Mr. Celmer, undermine the possibility of him receiving a fair trial.

In November 2018, the High Court (Ms. Justice Donnelly) found that concerns raised by Mr. Celmer did not amount to a real risk of a flagrant denial of his right to a fair trial in Poland and, on that basis, the High Court ordered Mr. Celmer’s surrender on each of three European Arrest Warrants.  That decision was suspended pending this appeal to the Supreme Court.

In its role as amicus curiae, the Commission makes available to the Supreme Court its expertise on the human rights issues under consideration, particularly the right to a fair trial from an EU law perspective.

The Commission’s legal submissions to the Supreme Court explore the primacy of EU law in the context of this case, and submit that the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice concerning Mr Celmer’s case sets out a particular EU law test in the area of European Arrest Warrants, which differs from the more general test adopted by the European Court of Human Rights.

Emily Logan Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

 “The importance of the case is in helping to bring clarity around whether, and when, extradition should be ordered in circumstances where fair trial concerns are raised during European Arrest Warrants proceedings.”

 

ENDS/

 

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Follow us on Twitter @_IHREC

 

Editor’s Note

The Commission’s written submissions to the Supreme Court are available at the following link:

Celmer Vs Minister for Justice and Equality – IHREC Legal Submissions of the Amicus Curiae

 

The amicus curiae function of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, the human rights or equality rights of any person.

Section 10 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act sets out the functions of the Commission and Section 10(2)(e) provides that the IHREC shall have a function:

“to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear before the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, as amicus curiae in proceedings before that Court that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any person and to appear as such an amicus curiae on foot of such liberty being granted (which liberty each of the said courts is hereby empowered to grant in its absolute discretion).”

 

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

 

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