New Judgment: DB v Chief Constable of Police Service of Northern Ireland (NI)  UKSC 7
01 Wednesday Feb 2017
On appeal from  NICA 56
The case considered whether the Police Service of Northern Ireland misdirected itself as to the extent of its legal powers to stop illegal parades, and what the appropriate standard of review and scope of discretion to be afforded to the police is in making operational decisions concerning public order issues. The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal, holding that the Police Service of Northern Ireland misconstrued its legal powers to stop parades in the Short Strand area. The Court considered that the police failed properly to appreciate their general law duty to prevent the commission of offences such as participating in un-notified parades, instead believing that they only had a power to prevent the commission of general public order offences. The police mistakenly believed that they were obliged by article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of assembly and association) to facilitate peaceful protests, even though they thought the protests were “technically illegal”. Thus, the High Court correctly concluded that the police laboured under a misapprehension as to the extent of their powers.
To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website