Northern Ireland court throws out claim that no-deal Brexit would breach Good Friday Agreement

Posted On: 
12th September 2019

A judge at the High Court in Belfast has thrown out claims that a no-deal Brexit would breach the Good Friday Agreement.

Victims campaigner Raymond McCord (left) outside Belfast High Court in August
Credit: 
PA Images

Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey dismissed arguments that crashing out of the bloc would undermine agreements between the UK and Ireland that were reached during the peace process.

In his written statement, he said: “I consider the characterisation of the subject matter of these proceedings as inherently and unmistakably political to be beyond plausible dispute.

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“Virtually all of the assembled evidence belongs to the world of politics, both national and supra-national.

In his written judgement, he added: “Within the world of politics the well-recognised phenomena of claim and counterclaim, assertion and counter-assertion, allegation and denial, blow and counter-blow, alteration and modification of government policy, public statements, unpublished deliberations, posturing, strategy and tactics are the very essence of what is both countenanced and permitted in a democratic society.”

Cases were brought by victims campaigner Raymond McCord, whose son was killed by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997, and two others.

The ruling comes a day after three judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament was “unlawful”.

The panel at Scotland's top civil court said the decision to prorogue was “improper” and a “tactic to frustrate Parliament”.

It came despite a similar case in England, led by pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller, having been thrown out last week.

Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey also dismissed a challenge against the suspension of Parliament as the case was the “centrepiece” of cases in England and Scotland.

Any appeal against the ruling in Belfast will be held on Friday, which could pave the way for it being heard in the Supreme Court alongside the English and Scottish cases next week.