Breaking news: Supreme Court dismisses Northern Ireland abortion appeal

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission challenged the compatibility of the current law on abortion in Northern Ireland with Article 3 (torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 8 (respect for private and family life) and Article 14 (discrimination) ECHR, insofar as the law prohibits abortion in cases of (a) serious malformation of the foetus, (b) pregnancy as a result of rape, and/or (c) pregnancy as a result of incest. The decision of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal was further appealed to the Supreme Court.

A majority of the Court (Lord Mance, Lord Reed, Lady Black and Lord Lloyd-Jones) dismissed the appeal on the ground that the NIHRC did not have standing to bring the proceedings. The court did not, therefore, have jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility in this case. Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson dissented.

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