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Committee on the Administration of Justice Response to the Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill (Northern Ireland), July 2010

Committee on the Administration of Justice Response to the Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill (Northern Ireland), July 2010

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Published by: PeterMulholland on Jul 14, 2010
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Promoting Justice / 2
nd
Floor, Sturgen Building T 028 9031 6000Protecting Rights 9 15 Queen Street F 028 9031 4583Belfast E info@caj.org.ukBT1 6EA W www.caj.org.uk
CAJ’s submission no. 266
CAJ’s Response toPublic Assemblies, Parades and ProtestsBill (Northern Ireland)
July 2010
 
 
Promoting Justice / 2
nd
Floor, Sturgen Building T 028 9031 6000Protecting Rights 9 15 Queen Street F 028 9031 4583Belfast E info@caj.org.ukBT1 6EA W www.caj.org.uk
What is the CAJ? 
The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) was established in1981 and is an independent non-governmental organisation affiliated to theInternational Federation of Human Rights. CAJ takes no position on theconstitutional status of Northern Ireland and is firmly opposed to the use ofviolence for political ends. Its membership is drawn from across thecommunity.The Committee seeks to ensure the highest standards in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland by ensuring that the government complies with itsresponsibilities in international human rights law. The CAJ works closely withother domestic and international human rights groups such as AmnestyInternational, Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for HumanRights) and Human Rights Watch and makes regular submissions to anumber of United Nations and European bodies established to protect humanrights.CAJ’s activities include - publishing reports, conducting research, holdingconferences, campaigning locally and internationally, individual casework andproviding legal advice. Its areas of work are extensive and include policing,emergency laws and the criminal justice system, equality and advocacy for aBill of Rights.CAJ however would not be in a position to do any of this work, without thefinancial help of its funders, individual donors and charitable trusts (since CAJdoes not take government funding). We would like to take this opportunity tothank Atlantic Philanthropies, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Hilda Mullen Foundation,Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Oak Foundation and UNISON.The organisation has been awarded several international human rights prizes,including the Reebok Human Rights Award and the Council of Europe HumanRights Prize.
 
 
Promoting Justice / 2
nd
Floor, Sturgen Building T 028 9031 6000Protecting Rights 9 15 Queen Street F 028 9031 4583Belfast E info@caj.org.ukBT1 6EA W www.caj.org.uk
Consultation Response for Public Assemblies,Parades and Protests Bill (Northern Ireland)Committee on the Administration of Justice (‘CAJ’)July 2010
1. Introduction
The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) was established in1981 and is an independent non-governmental organisation affiliated to theInternational Federation of Human Rights. CAJ works on a broad range ofhuman rights issues and its membership is drawn from across the community.Its activities include - publishing reports, conducting research, holdingconferences, monitoring, campaigning locally and internationally, individualcasework and providing legal advice.CAJ’s areas of work are extensive and include policing, emergency laws,criminal justice, equality and the protection of rights. We also co-convene theEquality Coalition. The organisation has been awarded several internationalhuman rights prizes, including the Reebok Human Rights Award and theCouncil of Europe Human Rights Prize.We welcome this opportunity to respond to the consultation on the PublicAssemblies, Parades and Protests Bill (Northern Ireland) (‘the draft Bill’).Although we recognise the context surrounding the agreement of this piece oflegislation, we believe that some aspects of the draft Bill create an unjustifiedrestriction on the freedom of assembly and expression. In particular, webelieve that the lengthy notice period and strict conditions should not beextended to public meetings.
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 2. Context
It is important, when considering this Bill, that it is recognised as part of thearchitecture of the Hillsborough Agreement that led directly to the confirmationof the devolved arrangements and the transfer of powers over policing and justice from Westminster to Stormont. This is a not inconsiderable matter andshould be borne in mind as a contextual consideration. The draft Bill is,therefore, in essence an important element in a political agreement that has:
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This submission has been prepared without detailed scrutiny of the draft code of conduct, which hasonly recently been released.

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