Hain appeals High Court ruling on Interim Victims Commissioner

I did mention, in the course of noting another story, that the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, has a High Court ruling against him stating that he was in breach of his Ministerial Code of Practice when he appointed Bertha McDougall as Interim Victims Commissioner. And that there is an ongoing inquiry into his, and others in the NIO, conduct afterwards. Today the Belfast Telegraph reports that Government lawyers filed papers in the court yesterday to challenge Lord Justice Girvan’s original ruling. The Belfast Telegraph report also notes

The case could open in the Court of Appeal in a matter of weeks, but Mrs Downes will have to replace her lead counsel. Seamus Treacy, the barrister who won the case for her, has been appointed to the High Court.

And here’s a reminder of the original ruling

[59] The appointment of Mrs McDougall

(a) breached section 76 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998;

(b) being in breach of the accepted merit norms applicable to public appointments and in breach of the Ministerial Code of Practice in the circumstances the appointment, was in breach of the power of appointment under the Royal Prerogative;[added emphasis]

(c) was motivated by an improper purpose, being motivated by a political purpose ( so called confidence building) which could not be legitimately pursued at the expense of complying with the proper norms of public appointments where merit is the overriding consideration; and

(d) failed to take account of the fact that there was no evidential basis for concluding that the appointee would command cross-community support.

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