Thursday, 16 December 2010

Irish Abortion case

I am just off on a journey so apologies for this rushed Blog.

The European Court of Human Rights has just delivered a Grand Chamber judgment in the case of A. B. and C. v. Ireland. See PRESS RELEASE and JUDGMENT
re the facts in each case. Essentially the 3 women were arguing that the Irish Constitution article 40.3.3
"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right"

violated their rights to a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
Article 8 - Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The Court held that there had been no violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to private and family life) in respect of A and B, and unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 8 in respect of C who was suffering from cancer. The peculiarity of the decision is that the European Court held that C could not access her rights to an Abortion (because her life was in danger) under the Irish Constitution 40.3.3.

The question I pose is
"What gives the European Court of Human Rights the right to adjudicate on the provisions of the Irish Constitution ?
Once the Court had decided that the European Convention does not give a right to an Abortion that should have been the end of the matter. Deciding on the interpretation of the Irish Constitution is the job of the Irish Supreme Court not the European Court of Human Rights

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