Promoting Justice / 2
Floor, Sturgen Building T 028 9031 6000Protecting Rights 9 – 15 Queen Street F 028 9031 4583Belfast E firstname.lastname@example.orgBT1 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
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.
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:
This submission has been prepared without detailed scrutiny of the draft code of conduct, which hasonly recently been released.