HC Deb 12 November 2001 vol 374 c516W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures will be taken in response to the European Court of Human Rights decision in favour of Francis Devlin on 30 October; what compensation he will pay to Mr. Devlin; how many cases contesting procedures relating to national security exemption certificates are outstanding, and what steps will be taken to settle those cases prior to any court hearing in Strasbourg. [12991]

Jane Kennedy

The European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the Devlin case on 30 October. The court found a breach of article 6(1) because Mr. Devlin had no effective way of challenging the certificate issued under section 42 of the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976 in relation to his discrimination proceedings. The court rejected the Government's argument that Mr. Devlin could not rely on article 6(1) rights in the circumstances of his case. In rejecting this argument the court found a breach in the same terms as those found in the Tinnelly and McElduff cases. Following those judgments in 1998, the Government established a Tribunal, under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, to which an individual can appeal against a section 42 certificate. The remedial action required, should a similar situation to Mr. Devlin's case arise now, is therefore already in place. The court awarded £10,000 to Mr. Devlin and the Government are considering the terms of the judgment and their next steps in relation to this. The Government are aware of only one outstanding case in Strasbourg contesting procedures relating to section 42 certificates and are considering what steps should be taken to seek to settle the dispute.