The City Law School’s Angela Jackman obtains leave to appeal from the Supreme Court in landmark case
In December 2015, the Supreme Court granted permission to appeal in a crucial case which could affect hundreds of women in Northern Ireland who are forced to travel to England each year and to pay hundreds of pounds for terminations. The case is challenging the government’s policy which prohibits NHS abortion services in England for women who are resident in Northern Ireland.
As the Abortion Act 1967 does not apply in Northern Ireland, lawful abortions are only available in exceptional and rare circumstances. In November 2015, the High Court in Belfast decided that the law breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by not permitting abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and for women who are the subject of sexual assault. Despite this ruling, it remains the case that hundreds of women are still unable to access lawful abortion services in Northern Ireland and have no choice but to travel to other parts of the UK. In 2013, a young woman and her mother who are resident in Northern Ireland - known only as ‘A and B’ - brought a judicial review challenge to the bar on NHS abortion services in England.
They were represented in the Administrative Court and Court of Appeal by Angela Jackman, part-time partner at Maxwell Gillott/Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors and Senior Lecturer and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Consultant at The City Law School.
Angela continues to act for them.
Unlawful exercise of the Secretary of State's powers
In July 2015, The Court of Appeal rejected A and B’s appeal but the Supreme Court has now granted them permission to appeal. A and B argue that the refusal to fund terminations is discriminatory against them, as UK citizens, and a breach of Articles 8 and 14 of the ECHR. They are also challenging the government’s policy on the grounds that it is an unlawful exercise of the Secretary of State’s powers.
The Supreme Court has not yet set a date for the substantive hearing which will provide an opportunity for vital Convention and public law issues to be fully aired.
Angela’s involvement in the case has attracted significant national media coverage and will continue to do so. Her conduct of the case for the last 3 years and her insight into the legal issues as a practicing solicitor will enhance City Law School’s public law and human rights expertise.
Angela said: “This is an important case which raises significant issues concerning reproductive rights and Convention law. I welcome the opportunity for the Supreme Court to consider these issues substantively.”
Please visit this weblink for more information about this case from Maxwell Gillott/Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors.
For more information on the Court of Appeal’s judgement, please visit this weblink.
The Supreme Court’s decision granting permission to appeal is summarised here.
The UK Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.