Bar reaffirms rule of law is ‘absolute and applies to all’

The Bar of Northern Ireland has reaffirmed its commitment to the maintenance of the rule of law in a short statement issued in the wake of the UK government’s U-turn on Brexit.

Earlier this week, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told MPs that provisions in the Internal Market Bill would “break international law in a very specific and limited way”.

However, in a rare intervention, the Bar said yesterday: “A breach of the law does not become less so, because it is asserted to be either ‘specific’ or ‘limited’.

“No court would recognise such an exception in domestic law. Obligations in international law require similar compliance.”

The Bar said the rule of law “demands adherence from the private citizen and those in public office alike”, and “applies whether or not it is considered to be inconvenient or inexpedient”.

Meanwhile, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, told a BBC programme last night that Mr Lewis’ comments “may well undermine trust in the government and certainly might undermine trust in the system of the administration of justice”.

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