Clause 13

Part of Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 18th January 2007.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down 9:15 am, 18th January 2007

I am most grateful to the Minister for that short but precise clarification. Will he confirm that he and his officials will consider whether it would be helpful—I believe it would—to include the word “and” between paragraphs (a), (b) and (c). At the moment, the provision is not clear, and implies that

“the Commission need not be a victim or potential victim of the unlawful act”.

There could be a test case under its own volition without there being a victim.

The commission already has powers—this is where we must be careful—under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to assist a victim of alleged human rights abuse to take legal proceedings and to support them financially. It would be helpful if the Minister could indicate whether a budgetary commitment will be given to the commission to institute proceedings and test cases when it is not the victim.