NI Constitution

On this page, you will find all the work we did under the 'Constitutional Conundrums' banner and the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account funding we received for that project between 2016 and 2018.

The primary purpose of 'Constitutional Conundrums' was to investigate what the specific consequences of Human Rights Act 1998 reform and Brexit would be for Northern Ireland in terms of its constitutional settlement as a country in the UK and a former part of an EU Member State.

Briefing Document: Human Rights reform and Northern Ireland.

Discussion of the repeal of the UK Human Rights Act has intensified following the election. The Act is a complex instrument, and there would be significant implications flowing from its repeal.

Northern Ireland has a particularly important relationship with the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Good Friday Agreement (a key part of the Northern Irish peace process) enshrined a fundamental role for the ECHR in moderating the values of plurality and equality in the ‘new’ Northern Ireland.

Unpicking the terms of the Good Friday Agreement is unwise. Human rights protections were not an ‘add on’ to the peace processes but were a central feature of the reconciliation.

Beyond the effects upon the people of Northern Ireland, there are potential implications for the UK’s relationship with Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is (at least in part) a contract between the British and Irish states. The interests of the Republic of Ireland in human rights protections in Northern Ireland should also be respected.

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