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25 September 2023

Legacy conference postponement

Issued: 10.00am on 26th September 2023


The Law Society of Northern Ireland has today announced the postponement of its annual conference which had been due to take place on 29 September 2023 focussing on the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act. 

The Law Society has been a vocal opponent of this legislation, criticising - among other things - the prohibition on civil cases and closing of legacy inquests brought about by the Act.  The legislation is, in the view of the Law Society, incompatible with the UK’s international human rights obligations.

The Law Society convened this conference to provide members of the legal profession the opportunity to hear from human rights experts, from victims’ representatives and from those involved in the implementation of the new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery.  This was intended to help inform the legal profession’s approach to the new structures.

Some victims’ representative groups have contacted the Law Society in recent days requesting the cancellation of the conference. The Society has also been made aware of plans to hold a public protest at Friday’s event.  In these circumstances, the Society has taken the decision to postpone this event.  Law Society President, Brian Archer, commented:

“The Law Society is committed to upholding the Rule of Law and has been at the forefront of challenging this legislation during its passage through Parliament.  Solicitors play a vital role supporting victims and survivors of The Troubles seeking answers and accountability and I believe it is appropriate for the Law Society to hold events such as this to inform and educate our members. Freedom of expression and debate is an intrinsic and important aspect of the Rule of Law.

However, we recognise the strength of feeling in opposition to this Act.  With a significant number of legal challenges now before the courts, the implementation of the new legacy structures remains uncertain, and it is right to postpone the event until such time as the legality of the new legacy arrangements has been tested in the courts.”




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