Case details

In the matter of an application by Anthony McIntyre for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland)

Case ID: UKSC 2019/0031

Case summary

Issue(s)

Whether the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear the applicant’s proposed appeal given that the court from which he seeks to appeal declined to certify that a point of law of general public importance was involved in the decision.

  1. Does the Supreme Court have power to grant a certificate that a point of law of general public importance was involved in the decision of the court below by virtue of section 41(4) of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978?
  2. Is the Supreme Court, notwithstanding the absence of certification by the court below that a point of law of general public importance was involved in the decision, entitled to determine its own jurisdiction in order to ensure the availability of an effective remedy where the applicant contends that his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights have been infringed?
Facts

In 2014 the Police Service of Northern Ireland learnt of a BBC interview in which Mr McIntyre stated that he had given confidential testimony to a US project assembling an oral history from members of paramilitary organisations in Belfast during the period of the Troubles. The PPS thereafter made an International Letter of Request to the US authorities seeking disclosure of the records of Mr McIntyre’s interview, on the basis that it was relevant for use in current investigations into alleged criminal conduct by Mr McIntyre in the 1970s. The US authorities ordered the disclosure of some of the material, which was transmitted to Northern Ireland. Mr McIntyre issued a claim for judicial review seeking an injunction preventing its use and declarations that the issue of the request had been unlawful. The Divisional Court dismissed Mr McIntyre’s claim and refused to certify any questions arising as points of law of general public importance. Section 41(2) of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 provides inter alia that ‘No appeal shall lie under this section except with the leave of the court below or of the Supreme Court; and … such leave shall not be granted unless it is certified by the court below that a point of law of general public importance is involved in the decision’.

Judgment appealed

[2018] NIQB 79

Parties

Appellant(s)

Anthony McIntyre

Respondent(s)
  1. Public Prosecutions Service for Northern Ireland
  2. Police Service for Northern Ireland

Appeal

Justices

Lord Kerr, Lord Carnwath, Lady Arden

Hearing start date

24 Oct 2019

Hearing finish date

24 Oct 2019