Attorney General hosts Colloquium on Article 2 ECHR and Inquests

06 October 2014

On Friday 26 September the Attorney General hosted a colloquium on the association between inquests and Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in light of recent case law.

The Attorney General’s colloquium brought together a small focused group for reflection and discussion of ideas about this important aspect of dealing with our troubled past.

The Attorney General, speaking after the colloquium, said:

“Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights shapes the ways in which we approach our troubled past. It’s important to have a clear idea about what Article 2 requires – and what it doesn’t. I’m delighted that this colloquium has contributed substantially to an improved understanding of the role of Article 2 in our legacy issues.”

The Attorney General focused on the recent European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber decision of Janowiec v Russia and discussed its potential implications for inquests in Northern Ireland. The colloquium also heard from Dr Natasa Mavronicola of Queens University who explored the nature and scope of the negative and positive obligations under the right to life. Laura Thompson, Barrister, Principal Legal Officer in the Office of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, then described the practices of the office when applications are made to seek a directed inquest under section 14(1) of the Coroners (Northern Ireland) Act 1959. There then followed a lively discussion among the attendees.

Following the colloquium and in light of the discussion that took place the Attorney General proposes to issue guidance on his website to assist persons applying for an inquest to be directed under section 14 (1) of the Coroners Act (Northern Ireland) 1959.