The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has refused leave to refer its judgment in Lee v McArthur & Ors  NICA 29 to the Supreme Court. Last week, lawyers for the bakery were formally refused leave to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court. Yesterday, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, rejected the Attorney General’s attempt to invoke his powers under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to ask the Supreme Court to rule on four devolution issues because the application was out of time.
According to a report in The Belfast News Letter, the Court concluded: “We do not consider there are exceptional circumstances in this case which require us to re-open proceedings.” The Lord Chief Justice confirmed that “We have determined that we didn’t have the power to refer: full stop.” The News Letter further reports that the McArthur family intends to seek leave to appeal from the Supreme Court itself. [With thanks to ICLRS.]
Update: The Belfast Telegraph subsequently confirmed that that the McArthur family would seek leave. In a statement, they said:
“Ashers Baking Company will take the necessary legal steps to instigate a Supreme Court appeal on this crucially important matter as soon as possible and papers must be lodged early in the New Year.”