On appeal from: [2019] NIQB 10

Two appeals have been brought to this court from the judgment of the Divisional Court of the High Court in Northern Ireland in In re McGuinness’s Application [2019] NIQB 10. The judgment was given in relation to judicial review proceedings relating to the treatment of Mr Michael Stone, who was convicted of serious offences, is currently in prison, and who maintains that his case should be referred by the Department of Justice for Northern Ireland to the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland for consideration whether he should be released on licence. The respondent, Mrs McGuinness, the sister of one of the victims of Mr Stone’s crimes, brought these proceedings against the Department to challenge the lawfulness of its decision to refer Mr Stone’s case to the Commissioners and was successful in the Divisional Court. The Department appeals and, by a second appeal, so does Mr Stone, who was joined as an interested party in the proceedings.

Held: The present proceedings do not constitute “a criminal cause or matter” for the purposes of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978, section 41 with the result that this court does not have jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. That being so, and because this court is likely to be assisted by consideration of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal of the operation of the special prisoner regime in that jurisdiction under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 and pursuant to the Belfast Agreement, should the case come back for consideration by this court.

For judgment, please download: [2020] UKSC 6

For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII


To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (15 Oct Morning) (15 Oct Afternoon)