High Court in Belfast orders disapplication of provisions of the Illegal Migration Act 2023

13 May 2024

In the case of Re NIHRC and JR 295 (Illegal Migration Act 2023), Mr Justice Humphreys has ordered the disapplication of provisions of the Illegal Migration Act 2023 in Northern Ireland and declared others incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Alison Harvey explored these issues for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in work culminating in her papers on asylum and trafficking. The asylum report authored by her can be found here.

As part of that work, the NIHRC advised in a briefing note that refugees and asylum seekers are protected by Article 2 of the Windsor Framework, and that  rights particular to refugees and asylum-seekers are within scope of the Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity chapter of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, by virtue, in particular, of the general commitment to civil rights and to the incorporation of the European Convention of Human Rights into domestic law.

The Commission advised that, as a consequence of the Windsor Framework, a number of EU instruments remain relevant for determining minimum standards of rights required for asylum-seekers and refugees in Northern Ireland. This includes the following EU directives:

  • Procedures Directive (2005/85/EC)
  • Qualification Directive (2004/83/EC)
  • Reception Directive (2003/9/EC)
  • Dublin IIII Regulation (2013/604/EU)
  • Directive on Victims (2012/29/EU)
  • Directive on Combating Human Trafficking (2011/36/EU)

A summary of Mr Justice Humphrey’s judgment can be found here.

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