Rights of Victims of Historic Abuse to Access Justice and Effective Remedy at Question in High Court Case

Commission Granted Right to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Mother and Baby Homes Cases

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today been granted leave by the High Court to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in two lead cases challenging aspects of the final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

The cases (Philomena Lee v. Minister of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Mary Harney v. Minister of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) are due to be heard by the High Court on the 17th and 18th November 2021.

The Commission considers that these cases raise a number of important issues of principle, including the right to an appropriate and effective remedy. The Commission further believes that the human rights issues raised in these cases could significantly affect the human rights of persons not party to the proceedings.

Over the past number of years, the Commission has been actively engaged on the rights of victims of historic abuse and it has made a number of submissions to various national and international bodies, including recently to an Oireachtas Joint Committee and various United Nations Human Rights Committees, in the context of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and certain related matters.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

The Commission is exercising our amicus curiae function in light of the significant human rights and equality issues arising in both these cases. The outcome of these cases may have implications for other survivors of historic abuse.”

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

 As the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is now formally involved in the proceedings, we are precluded from making any further comment as the matter is before the High Court.

Where written submissions are made by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to the superior Courts in amicus curiae cases they will be made available on www.ihrec.ie after the case 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 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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