Non-Jury Courts Get Red Card from UN Watchdog


The United Nations Committee against Torture has expressed its regret that the United Kingdom continues to use non-jury Courts in Northern Ireland.

The statement was contained in the latest comprehensive report by the CAT on the United Kingdom.

Previously UN bodies have also condemned non-jury Court procedures and the Offences against the State Act operated by the Dublin government.

This latest criticism means that in International terms the legitimacy north and south of non-jury courts in Ireland is questionable (the relevant section of the report is set out below):

Non-Jury trials in Northern Ireland

“13. The Committee notes with appreciation measures taken in Northern Ireland in the context of the security normalisation programme but regrets that the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 retains the possibility for the conduct of non-jury trials, despite the apparent consensus among a broad range of actors that the problem of juror intimidation in Northern Ireland still needs to be demonstrated (art. 2).

The Committee recommends that the State party take due consideration of the principles of necessity and proportionality when deciding the renewal of emergency powers in Northern Ireland, and particularly non-jury trial provisions. It encourages the State party to continue moving towards security normalisation in Northern Ireland and envisage alternative juror protection measures”.

The full CAT report can be found here:

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


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