Beyond Article 8: The European Convention on Human Rights and Abortion in Cases of Fatal Foetal Abnormality and Sexual Crime

Dr Kathryn McNeilly (QUB)

In November 2015 the Northern Ireland High Court determined prohibition of abortion in Northern Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and sexual crime incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This Article upholds the right to private and family life. While this was the only Article found to be violated by the High Court, submissions were also made to the Court on two other Articles of the Convention, namely the Article 3 right to be free from torture or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment and the Article 14 right to non-discrimination. This presentation will outline in an accessible way the legal background and reasoning for the Northern Ireland High Court’s determination on Article 8, but will also return to case law of the European Court of Human Rights to explain why further incompatibility may be found under Article 3. This is significant in understanding not only the potential for this case on appeal, but also for future development and discussion of domestic law in this area.

Date of seminar: 16 November 2016.

Policy Briefing