BREAKING: Court ruling on abortion – Brandon Lewis failed in duty to provide full services in NI

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis failed to comply with his duties by not expeditiously providing full abortion services for women in the region, a High Court judge has ruled.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 10:53 am
Brandon Lewis

But Mr Justice Colton declined to make any order compelling Mr Lewis to set out a timetable for the provision of the services.

He was delivering a ruling after the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has launched a judicial review against the Secretary of State, as well as the Northern Ireland Executive and the region’s Department of Health over their failure to commission and fund abortion services.

The claims against the Department of Health and Executive were dismissed.

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But relating to Mr Lewis, the judge said: “The court declares that between April 2020 and March 2021 the Secretary of State failed to comply with his duties under Section 9 of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Act 2019 in that he failed to ensure expeditiously that the State provide women with access to high-quality abortion and post-abortion care in all public facilities in Northern Ireland.

“The court declines to make any order of mandamus against the Secretary of State.”