The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the ‘Commission’) has today (Monday) been granted liberty by the Court of Appeal to appear as an amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in relation to four cases involving conditions of detention of at the Oberstown Detention Centre in Co. Dublin.
All four cases involve allegations by children that they have been detained in conditions amounting to solitary confinement at the Oberstown Detention Centre.
Today’s judgment overturns the earlier order of the High Court, of 21 December 2016, refusing the Commission liberty to appear as an amicus curiae.
As amicus curiae the Commission will present submissions for the assistance of the Court on the relevant domestic and international human rights standards relating to children in detention.
Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:
“We welcome the ruling today of the Court of Appeal. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission applied to appear as amicus curiae in this significant case, as it raises important issues regarding the human rights of children in detention.
“As Ireland’s National Human Rights and Equality Institution the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission uses its statutory functions and independent status to provide an experience-based human rights perspective in legal cases where significant issues arise.”
For further information, please contact:
Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,
01 8589601 / 087 0697095
Follow us on twitter @_IHREC
As the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is now formally involved in these four cases, which are currently listed for hearing in the High Court on 17 January 2017, we will make no further comment at this time. Our written submissions to the Court will be made available on www.ihrec.ie after the matter has been heard.
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 was set up on 1 November 2014 as an independent public body to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding across Irish society.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014 sets out the functions of the Commission, including to ensure that:
- there is respect for, and protection of, everyone’s human rights;
- there is respect for the dignity and worth of each person;
- a person’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice, discrimination, or neglect;
- everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to take part in the economic, political, social or cultural life of the State; and
- people respect each other, respect equality and human rights, and understand the value of diversity within society
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.