Sunday 4 December 2016

State to appeal judgment which found 'unborn' means a child with rights beyond the right to life

Tim Healy

Published 26/11/2016 | 02:30

'The application for a certificate of appeal will come before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys next month' Stock photo: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing
'The application for a certificate of appeal will come before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys next month' Stock photo: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

The State is seeking permission to appeal a significant judgment which found the word "unborn" in the Constitution means an unborn "child" with rights beyond the right to life.

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Although that finding was made in an immigration case, it is understood the State has been advised its significance extends well beyond that.

An appeal is considered particularly necessary because of apparently conflicting High Court decisions on the extent of the rights of the "unborn".

The application for a certificate of appeal will come before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys next month arising from his judgment last July finding "unborn" means an "unborn child".

The judge cited Article 42A of the Constitution, which was inserted as a result of the 2012 Children's Referendum.

He noted it provides "the State recognises and affirms the rights of all children and shall, as far as practicable, by its laws protect and vindicate those rights".

As an "unborn" was "clearly a child", Article 42A meant all children "both before and after birth", he said.

He dismissed the State's argument that Article 42A cannot apply to unborn children because they cannot exercise several rights. It is understood his judgment has since been discussed by a number of Government departments.

The judgment considered the rights of a Nigerian man facing deportation while his Irish female partner was pregnant with their child. The plaintiffs were represented by Michael Conlon SC instructed by Brian Burns of Burns, Kelly, Corrigan Solicitors. Mr Burns confirmed this week his side had been notified the State intended to seek a certificate of appeal.

When the matter was mentioned this week to Mr Justice Humphreys, he adjourned to December 12 the State's application.

Irish Independent

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