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Consultation On The Draft Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill 2010
Joint Response By Lower Ormeau Concerned Community And Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition
Summary: The Draft Bill - Unfocussed and Disproportionate
TH Submission - outline
The limited nature of the right to freedom of assembly in respect of contentious marches.
Quantifying the discrete issue of contentious marches.
The failure to treat contentious marches as a discrete issue.
The failure to publish the report and recommendations of the Parades Working Group in order to fully comprehend all those factors taken into account and which influenced the current consultation.
The shortcomings of the current consultation.
The draft Bill - Unfocussed and Disproportionate
The Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill released for public consultation on April 20th purports to offer a solution to the problems created by contentious loyal order parades in areas such as the Garvaghy Road, Portadown, and the Lower Ormeau Road, Belfast.
Far from solving the myriad of issues caused by contentious parades in Portadown, south Belfast and elsewhere, it is our collective view that the draft ‘Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill’ merely creates a whole new range of problems while ensuring the perpetuation of old ones.
The draft legislation will bring any and all public gatherings of fifty people or more within the scope of the law – a recipe for potential disaster and a far cry from the panacea it alleges to offer.
The solution to the vexing and long-standing problem of contentious parades lies not in complex legislation or through the application of multiple bureaucratic structures.
Rather, the solution can be found in a common sense approach of using viable alternative routes to take the small number of disputed parades (less than 3% of the total number of parades) away from sensitive locations where they have a long history of causing disturbance.
Instead of specifically dealing with the minority of marches that are problematic, the draft legislation proposes to treat all parades and outdoor gatherings as if they were the same.
The legislation potentially encompasses contentious and non-contentious loyal order parades; public meetings and trades union rallies; community protests against racist attacks; parents protesting against the closure of schools or public services. Even sporting activities, like road bowls, will potentially fall under the remit of this legislation.
Organizers of all of these dissimilar events will have to jump through identical administrative and legal hurdles, creating an unnecessary bureaucracy and burdening a range of local organisations.
The solution is to focus on the real problem - a small number of contentious loyal order parades that can be resolved by obliging the organisers to take an alternative route.
The re-routing of contentious parades is neither new nor radical. The European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights recognize that restrictions, including route restrictions, can be placed on parades to protect the rights of others or to prevent disorder. Such restrictions have been upheld by the domestic courts.
Nationalist residents are not seeking to have parades banned.
Rather, it is about
guaranteeing the right to assembly in a proportionate and balanced way taking into account the range of human rights violations which can occur when marches are forced upon certain communities.
When a loyal order parade, with a long history of causing sectarian trouble, seeks to pass through a nationalist area, there is a solution which reasonably respects the rights of both the marchers and the residents: the use of a viable alternative route. That is the only solution which achieves a balance of rights.
If the primary purpose of the parade is to go from A to B, that purpose may equally be satisfied by a number of alternative routes.
Unfortunately, we have seen a number of loyal parades over the years that have a shameful secondary purpose - to march through a nationalist or Catholic residential area for the sole purpose of sectarian triumphalism.
The ‘Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill’ proposed a statutory ‘Code of Conduct’ for parades which was due to be circulated for public consultation in early May and which was
eventually published on 23rd June. That Code is the subject of a separate consultation and will, therefore, be responded to through a separate and appropriate submission.
However, we feel it necessary to state that any legislation and/or Code must, by the nature of the core issue to be addressed, be fully capable of taking into account the long years of sectarian conflict and abuse around marches, and not result in air-brushing such events from history by the introduction of some legislative or arbitrary date-line.
To ignore that history in relation to a small number of contentious parades would make absolutely no sense and be grossly unfair to those who have suffered years of sectarian abuse.
To make a decision on any parade without fully taking into account the complete historical and contemporaneous context; and fully taking into account the impact of a particular parade upon the local community; the impact of a particular parade upon wider community relationships and, most importantly of all, the necessity of whether a parade proceeding along a particular route is, in fact, indispensable for the enjoyment of Article 11 rights in circumstances where suitable and adequate alternative routes permit the equal and full enjoyment of that Article 11 right, would be fundamentally wrong and could cause irreparable damage to wider community relations and to other equally protected ECHR rights enjoyed by many other persons.
The existing Public Processions Act has led to the Parades Commission making inconsistent decisions. It is our view that the Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill will lead to further inconsistencies of approach in the decision making processes.
The Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill is a flawed piece of legislation. It is the classic case of a "sledgehammer to crack a nut" - a difficult nut, yes, but still a nut.
There are a relatively small number of contentious parades that need to be dealt with proportionately, so everyone can live ‘free from sectarian harassment’ as guaranteed in the Good Friday Agreement. 4
The Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill does not appear to achieve those aims; it lacks clarity and focus, is disproportionate and potentially is unworkable.
Within the Bill, there is a clear absence of any key primary objectives to be achieved. Those key primary objectives are clear to many people, with the exception (it would appear) of those who comprised the Parades Working Group and who assisted and oversaw the drafting of this proposed legislation.
The key primary objective should have been simple – to bring about final closure to the conflict around a small number of contentious parades which have affected a number of minority communities for too many decades and too many generations.
Instead of bringing about such closure, we believe that the proposals, structures and bureaucracy suggested by the draft Bill will merely have the potential to perpetuate that conflict into new generations.
Those responsible for drafting this Bill should go back to the drawing board to create a workable solution based on common-sense principles within clearly established parameters as defined by international human rights’ conventions, protocols and case-law.
Submission - Outline
The Parades Commission was established in 1997 and commenced its duties in 1998, pursuant to the recommendations of the Independent Review of Parades and Marches, which was chaired by Dr Peter North.
The present consultation on the draft Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill, published on April 20 2010, is the product of the report and agreed recommendations by the Parades Working Group which are a product of negotiations between political parties at Hillsborough Castle in February 2010.
We also note that the Parades Working Group was tasked by the First Minister and deputy First Minister to “assist during the drafting process to confirm that the Bill faithfully reflects and delivers the agreed outcomes.”
In relation to this particular consultation, it is noticeable that those “agreed outcomes” have not been published.
This submission to the April 20 consultation focuses on the following areas of concern:
1. The limited nature of the right to freedom of assembly in respect of contentious marches. 2. Quantifying the discrete issue of contentious marches. 3. The failure to treat contentious marches as a discrete issue. 4. The failure to publish the report and recommendations of the Parades Working Group in order to fully comprehend all those factors taken into account and which influenced the current consultation. 5. The shortcomings of the current consultation.
We believe that the issue of contentious and sectarian marches is a discrete issue, almost unique to the North of Ireland, and, therefore, in many respects, independent of others in the wider political process. 6
We note a contradiction between the widespread, all-embracing nature of the proposed legislation and the failure to treat the matter of contentious marches as a discrete issue. We will comment further on these matters later on.
There also appears to have been a failure and/or unwillingness on the part of those responsible for drafting the proposed legislation to explicitly quantify the nature and limited extent of those contentious parades they wish the legislation to address. We believe this to be a matter of concern.
We believe that our comments are reflective of the overall views of those residing within our respective communities in nationalist/Catholic districts of Portadown and South Belfast.
1. The limited nature of the right to freedom of assembly in respect of contentious marches.
Article 11(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights posits a freedom of assembly. However, Article 11 (2) expressly provides that this freedom may be limited:
“No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the protection of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of those rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.”
There is no absolute right to march when one wants, where one wants or how one wants. This is clear from Article 11(2) above and from a number of rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights upholding the imposition of restrictions relating to time, place and manner upon specific assemblies – restrictions of the type which minority nationalist communities have sought to be imposed on contentious parades.
It should be remembered at all times that those who live, work, or carry on business in those communities affected by contentious parades also enjoy rights and freedoms under the European Convention.
That includes all those men, women and children who reside in a particular area, along with workers, traders and businessmen who may work, trade or carry on business within a particular area, or those who may have cause to enter or leave a particular area in order to work, trade, seek medical assistance or have other requirements. It is grossly unfair and unjust to describe such persons, who clearly enjoy protected Convention rights, as merely being “objectors” in any proposed or draft legislation or to otherwise lessen the importance of those persons’ protected Convention rights. 8
We note that organisations within the unionist/loyalist community who in the past were granted the exercise of a particular right as a “traditional” privilege without reference to the rights and freedoms of members of the minority community by the northern State still today refuse to accept that limitations can be placed upon that right.
Once it is established and accepted by all that contentious parades can in fact be legally limited, one must then also accept that the nature and means of such limitations can include route restrictions.
It does not appear that any such acceptance of this type of limitation has been forthcoming from the organising bodies responsible for a relatively small number of contentious parades.
And therein lies the crux of the problem which has plagued many communities over a long period time - the refusal by organisers of contentious parades to accept that they do not enjoy absolute and non-qualified rights over and above those enjoyed by their fellow citizens. In essence, it is the very absence of such acceptance of those limitations that has led to this present and questionable consultation aimed at replacing, rather than improving, existing parades legislation.
2. Quantifying the discrete issue of contentious marches.
We note that neither the draft Bill or the accompanying Explanatory Notes have attempted to specify the nature of the discrete issue (contentious parades) which this draft Bill has been erroneously portrayed as addressing, nor has there been any attempt to quantify the number of those contentious parades.
In quantifying this issue, we would point out that the Parades Commission received notification of 3801 parades or processions of various natures, including vintage car-rallies, in the year from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009. Of that total, just under one third (31%), or 1201, related to those organised by trades unions, community groups, charities, etc.
Three per cent of that total, or 111, related to parades which could be viewed as originating from within the broad nationalist/republican community. A total of 2483 parades, or 65% of the overall total, originated from within unionist/loyalist community.
Of the 3801 total number, only 221 parades were classified as contentious of which 163 required the imposition of restrictions in relation to time, place and/or behaviour. Furthermore, if one disregards the 51 weekly notifications relating to Drumcree/Garvaghy Road, these figures reduce to 170 and 112.
In short, over 97% of all parades and various processions in the North of Ireland proceed without any restrictions being imposed whatsoever. Additionally, 2371 out of a total 2483 unionist loyalist parades proceeded unhindered.
We would point out that nationalist communities, particularly in those areas where there has been a long history of conflict over the parading issue, have sought merely to have route restrictions imposed upon that small number of contentious parades and marches which impinge upon the rights and freedoms of citizens residing, working, or carrying out business in those areas (which are by and large predominantly nationalist, working class, residential areas) affected by these contentious marches.
It is important to state that those same nationalist communities have not sought to have restrictions imposed upon the vast majority of unionist/loyalist marches. It is also important to state that neither LOCC nor GRRC have sought to have restrictions extended to encompass a wide range of public assemblies, particularly those viewed as normally noncontentious, static outdoor public meetings and pickets.
It is equally important to state that nationalists in Portadown, South Belfast and elsewhere have also declared their willingness to accept alternative, less contentious routes which still provide members of the Orange Order to exercise their right of freedom of assembly.
While we insist that the loyal Orders’ right to assembly be limited in respect of contentious parades, particularly those through areas where the overwhelming demographic make-up of the local community would be the opposite of those parading, we do respect the right of assembly as originally intended by Article 11 of the ECHR.
Indeed, we would point out that in Portadown and south Belfast, the loyal Orders’ rights to freedom of assembly have been consistently upheld. There have been no complete or outright bans recommended by the Parades Commission or imposed by the British Government, even in view of the extensive violence which had emanated from members and supporters of the Orange Order.
3. The failure to treat contentious marches as a discrete issue.
In bringing forward a draft bill on public assemblies, parades and protests, it would appear that the open ended remit given to the Parades Working Group ensured that, rather than deal specifically with the issue of contentious parades, it permitted the Parades Working Group to develop proposals aimed at bringing forward legislation of a more far-reaching and all-encompassing nature than anyone, outside of that Working Group acting in conjunction with the First Minister and deputy First Minister, had ever envisaged.
As such the proposed legislation fails to treat, or adequately deal with, those matters relating to contentious and/or sectarian parades as a discrete issue.
We would argue that this is a wrong approach.
Indeed, to support that viewpoint, we would refer to previous legislation enacted at various times in the recent period to deal with other discrete matters in the North of Ireland.
As examples we would refer to:
Fair employment legislation specifically enacted to the address the specific issue of discriminatory workplace practices which had led to open religious bias against citizens, particularly Catholics, within the North of Ireland on the basis of their beliefs. Such legislation was required because of previous failures of past measures to address religious discrimination.
Various legislative reforms, including 50/50 recruitment to the PSNI, introduced because of previous failures, human rights’ abuses, political bias and other shortcomings, many of which were unique to the North of Ireland. The current political and legislative institutions in the North of Ireland which were established because of the failure of previous institutions to properly deal with factors unique to the North of Ireland. 12
The long-term history behind the issue of contentious marches can be traced back to the early 19th century. In many respects, the issue is not only unique to the North of Ireland, it is also unique because of the way that, for much that period since the early 19th century, such marches were conferred by the state, or by influential elements within the state, upon a section of the wider community as a privilege.
Events, particularly in Portadown and South Belfast in the mid-nineties, led to the establishment of the Independent Review of Parades and Marches, under the chairmanship of Dr Peter North in late 1996. The Report of North Review (the North Report) was published in early 1997, and led to the establishment of the Parades Commission (the Commission).
Since then there have been a number of reviews of the Commission and associated legislation. In 2001, it was announced at Weston Park that a review would be held into the operation of the Commission and the legislation under which it was established. However, the aim at Weston Park was to link the marching issue to outstanding issues in the wider political process and, in particular, to the issue of policing.
It could well be that the outworking of this year’s Hillsborough Agreement in relation those matters under consultation was to re-emphasise a connection between the marching issue and other outstanding issues in the political process, rather than to deal with the issue on its own.
This appears to be contrary to the logic behind the North Report of 1997.
Why did the parties choose this path? The Hillsborough Agreement document fails to properly explain the reasoning behind the inclusion of the marching issue.
We believe that the marching issue concerns the human rights and fundamental freedoms of local communities, independent of other issues in the wider process. Binding this issue to conflicting political aspirations would appear to be a very dangerous gamble.
4. The failure to publish the report and recommendations of the Parades Working Group in order to fully comprehend all those factors taken into account and which influenced the current consultation.
It is noticeable that prior to, or coinciding with, publication of the draft Bill and the commencement of the public consultation, a decision was taken not to publish the Report and Recommendations of the Parades Working Group.
This would appear to be at odds with previous processes relating to the contentious parades issue.
As mentioned above, the Independent Review of Parades and Marches, under the chairmanship of Dr Peter North and established in late 1996, published its full report and recommendations in early 1997. The terms of reference for that Review were announced on 24 July 1996 and submissions were then invited from interested parties, organisations or individuals regarding their proposals for the future handling of parades. The closing date for submissions was 15 October 1996, and over 300 submissions and letters were received.
Following the Weston Park political negotiations in 2001, it was announced on 27 November 2001 that Sir George Quigley would conduct a Review of the operation of the Parades Commission and the legislation under which it was established. Approximately, 110 submissions were received. That report and recommendations were published in September 2002. The Quigley review was preceded by an internal NIO review in 2000.
The establishment of the Strategic Review of Parading Body was announced in February 2007 and the appointments to the Review Body made in April 2007. The Body held its first meeting in May 2007. Although no final report was published, it did publish an Interim Report of its recommendations (which did not include recommendations relating to either the Garvaghy or Lower Ormeau Roads) in April 2008. It received over 100 written
submissions, and met with 130 organisations and individuals (most of whom had made the written submissions).
We note that the proposal to amend and extend existing legislation to include all public assemblies first emerged in that particular Review’s Interim Report.
In contrast, the Parades Working Group was established on 8 February 2010 and met for the first time on 9 February 2010. It submitted its report and recommendations to the First Minister and deputy First Minister fourteen days later on 23 February. That report and recommendations remain unpublished. Neither has anything been published to indicate from which organisations or individuals the Parades Working Group received submissions, or with whom it met.
We would contend that such a situation contravenes basic principles of public life including those relating to openness, transparency, proportionality, and independent public scrutiny.
Without being able to view the overall context and agreed conclusions which the Parades Working Group arrived at and presented to the First Minister and deputy First Minister, it is difficult for anyone to then understand the overall logic of the chosen direction taken in framing the draft legislation.
Furthermore, we completely fail to comprehend the conclusions reached by the First Minister and deputy First Minister, as stated in correspondence dated July 2nd 2010 in relation to a Freedom of Information request, “that it is not in the public interest to disclose the report of the Working Group on Parades.”
We can only ask – why?
5. The shortcomings of the current consultation.
The draft Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill was published for consultation on 20 April 2010. Much of what is contained within the draft bill is intricately linked to the Code of Conduct. This had been due for publication in early May but was only published on 23rd June. That Code is the subject of a separate consultation and will be responded to accordingly.
As the legislation relating to contentious parades is essentially being published in two parts, and is subject to two separate consultations, this presents major difficulties for all those wishing to respond to the current consultation.
Therefore, we must question this procedural methodology adopted by the First Minister and deputy First Minister lest there be any doubt that a failure to respond, or an inability to comprehensively respond in detail, to the current consultation on the draft Bill could be construed or interpreted in any way as acceptance of the proposed bill in its entirety.
In relation to the current consultation process specifically relating to the draft Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill published on 20th April, it is our view many individuals and organisations will be simply unable to respond to those elements on which the FM/dFM have sought comments and views. It is an additional source of concern that many individuals and organisations appear unaware of the publication of the draft Code of Conduct or the fact that the period relating to that second and separate consultation has now commenced. Those points aside, the original consultation document relating to the draft Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill was published on April 20 and comprises a total of 67 pages. However, the actual draft legislation contained in that consultation paper extends only to twenty two pages comprising 49 sections of that document. Many areas can readily be identified within the draft legislation where, in the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to the consultation. 16
Fifteen such areas are listed in Appendix 1 (attached) as examples of this need for further information and concise interpretation to be provided to the public. We would point out that this list is by no means exhaustive, but has been compiled to illustrate and reinforce this point regarding lack of clarity and lack of information.
Appendix 1 Among those areas which can be readily identified as requiring further information are the following: (i) The draft Bill proposes inter alia that notification requirements for public assemblies, the adjudication body’s remit, the Chief Constable’s role and other associated mediation and monitoring procedures be extended beyond contentious parades (and counter protests as they are described within the draft Bill and Explanatory Notes) to encompass a large range of other static assemblies, including, as stated in the Explanatory Notes accompanying the draft Bill, protests by a community group against the closure of a local sports facility. However, this latter aspect would seem to be in contravention of Article 11 of the ECHR which also protects the freedom to associate with others, including the right to form or join a political party or other group or association, or the right to belong to a trade union, for the protection of one’s interests. In the absence of publication of the report and recommendations of the Working Group, no rationale has been given by the Working Group or by the FM/dFM for proposing this extension to regulatory framework. In the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this central aspect of the current consultation document and, therefore, those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
No evidence base has been established or made public by the Working Group or by the FM/dFM to demonstrate that such an extension of the regulatory process on public assemblies is in keeping with European Convention on Human Rights’ view of measures that are “necessary in a democratic society”; nor has it been demonstrated the Working Group or by the FM/dFM that the proposed measures contained within the draft Bill are proportionate to meeting “the interests of national security, public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”. In the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or
fully respond, to these aspects of the consultation and, therefore, those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage. (iii) Section 8 of the existing Public Processions Act sets out guidelines to which the Parades Commission is required to have regard. These include, inter alia : - any disruption to the life of the community which the procession may cause; - any impact which the procession may have on relationships within the community. The majority of people in communities (particularly those people in predominantly Catholic/nationalist communities, and more specifically, those residing in predominantly Catholic/nationalist communities along or adjacent to the proposed contentious march routes) affected by contentious marches would, in our view, consider these as major determining factors in deciding whether or not a contentious parade should be permitted to proceed without the imposition of restrictions relating to time, place and manner. Nothing within the current draft Bill or Explanatory Notes (presently under consultation until 14th July 2010) explains why these criteria have not been included in the proposed legislation. As no explanation or rationale has been issued by the working group or the FM/dFM in respect of the omission of these criteria, it is difficult to counter the reasoning behind this omission and in the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this and other aspects of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
Although the draft legislation lists at Section 2 (3) a number of factors to be taken into account by organisers, no reference is made of any obligation being placed on the organisers to prove that usage of a particular route, particularly one that has a history of contention, is necessary for the enjoyment of their Article 11 rights. As no explanation or rationale has been issued by the working group or the FM/dFM in respect of the omission of this important factor, it is difficult to counter the reasoning behind this omission and in the absence of further
information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
The draft legislation refers to a Code of Conduct being “designed to ensure that all parties take measures to prevent the sectarian harassment (meaning harassment on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion), or other harassment, of any person in the vicinity of a public assembly (whether or not the person is participating in the assembly).” However, no definitive interpretation of the term “sectarian harassment” is provided within the draft Bill or Explanatory Notes. Nor does the draft Bill explain if the prevention of, as yet undefined, “sectarian harassment” applies only to such harassment experienced by citizens as a result of a public gathering involving 50 or more people, or whether such protection will be extended to include all citizens, irrespective of whether or not, those citizens are the victims of sectarian harassment by individuals or by groups of people numbering less than fifty. In the absence of such information within the draft Bill or Explanatory Notes, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to these matters.
The draft Bill and Explanatory Notes state that the Code of Conduct will have a statutory basis. Legislatively, it is highly unlikely that such a Code of Conduct can be applied retrospectively. This, therefore, poses a question as to how the adjudication panel (the PAPPB) can or will take into account any previous sectarian behaviour; any previous breaches of the law or provocative and inciteful behaviour associated with a particular contentious march; or any previous disregard for legally binding decisions issued as a result of Parades Commission determinations by parade organisers and participants; or any widespread infringements upon the human rights of residents/citizens who happen to reside within or adjacent to the route of a contentious march by members of the state’s forces. Neither the draft Bill or Explanatory Notes provide any answer to these questions. In the absence of such information being contained within the draft Bill and Explanatory Notes, it is not possible to
respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage. (vii) The draft Bill and Explanatory Notes state that the First Minister and deputy First Minister may revise the Code of Conduct from time to time. No explanation or criteria are given in the draft Bill and Explanatory Notes relating to the circumstances that may give rise to such a revision. In the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage. (viii) Neither the draft Bill, nor Explanatory Note accompanying it, states how the appointments by the FM/dFM of the four-person Appointments Panel are to be regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. It is equally unclear if such an Appointments Panel will be recruited through an open, transparent and public recruitment process, or through secondment from existing government departments, or as a result of political appointment. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Code of Practice on Public Appointments played a central part in the House of Lords ruling setting aside appointments to the Parades Commission in the Duffy case. In the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage. (ix) The draft Bill states that the functions of the Office of Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests are to be set out in guidance issued by the FM/dFM. In the absence of such information being contained within the draft Bill or Explanatory Notes, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
The Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Appointments Panel is to be the adjudication and decision-making body, replacing the Parades Commission, with its members selected by the Appointments Panel. The status of the PAPPB, for example as a Non-Departmental Public Body, is not made clear in either the draft Bill or in the Explanatory Notes. In the absence of such information, it is not 21
possible to respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
The Appointments Panel is to appoint the 11 members of the adjudication body having regard to guidance to be issued by the FM/dFM. In the absence of such information relating to, or the actual publication of, that guidance, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
(xii)In the absence of any such published guidance to be issued by the FM/dFM relating to the appointment of the 11 members of the adjudication panel, it is unclear if these appointments will be regulated by standards and principles similar to the Code of Conduct for Public Appointments issued by OCPA. It is also not clear what regulatory regime, if any, will be applied during the application, selection and appointments processes. We refer here to the case of Duffy (FC) (Appellant) (Northern Ireland) [30 January 2008, UKHL 4]. In the absence of further information clarifying this issue, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to these aspects of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
No detailed information is included in the draft Bill or Explanatory Notes setting out the regulatory framework and criteria in relation to the recruitment, selection or appointment of mediators and monitors. In the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to these aspects of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.
No information is included in the draft Bill or explanatory Notes setting out the regulatory framework in relation to the recruitment, selection or appointment of persons employed as members of the secretariat to the OPPAP and the secretariat to the PABBP. As such it is unclear if such persons will be recruited through an open, transparent and public recruitment process, or through 22
secondment from existing government departments, or as a result of direct political appointments. In the absence of further information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to this aspect of the consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage. (xv) It is most striking and noticeable that the draft Bill and Explanatory Notes published on April 20 and which are subject to the current consultation failed to include any proposed or draft interpretation chapter/ or clauses. As a result, it is extremely difficult for anyone to correctly understand in distinct and clear legaland lay-terms exactly what is meant by phrases contained within the various sections, sub-sections and paragraphs within the draft Bill. An example of this difficulty and uncertainty can be found in those questions raised previously at (v) of Appendix 1 in this submission to the current consultation on the Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill, published on April 20 2010. In the absence of any proposed or draft interpretation chapter/ or clauses, or further such specific information, it is not possible to respond, or fully respond, to most aspects of the present consultation and therefore those wishing to do so are placed at a disadvantage.