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KESS - JUSTICE - CIVIL AND CRIMINAL ISSUES OF INTEREST

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Long Gallery

Parliament Buildings

Stormont

BT4 3XX

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1.30pm – RaISe – Welcome and Opening Remarks

1.45pm - Prof Gráinne McKeever, Dr Lucy Royal-Dawson, Dr John McCord and Dr Eleanor Kirk (Ulster) - Litigants in person in the civil and family courts in Northern Ireland

This presentation presents findings based on qualitative and quantitative research with personal litigants conducted from September 2016 to September 2017, in civil and family law proceedings in Northern Ireland. Research provides an evidence-based analysis of the reasons why people self-represent and the characteristics of personal litigants, including their socio-demographic profiles, as well as their self-reported general health status. Such profiling of the characteristics of personal litigants in Northern Ireland has never been conducted before. The findings are relevant to the work of the proposed Civil Justice Council and Family Justice Board. Recommendations flowing from the research could help to inform Department of Justice policies on how to ensure personal litigants’ court experiences are human rights compliant and provide practical ways in which the Court Service could respond to the recommendations of the 2017 final report of the Civil and Family Justice Review.

2.05pm - Dr John Topping (QUB) - Police Stop & Search Powers: Understanding Nature & Extent of Adversarial Contact Between PSNI and the Public

Governed primarily under the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (PACE), the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) use of stop and search powers have remained as a consistent - and growing - power over the past decade. Analysis of most recent data shows the powers are used 68% more than ten years ago; and at a greater rate than any other police service in the United Kingdom at 18 per 1000 of population, compared to 9 per 1000 in Scotland, and 7 per 1000 in England & Wales. In this regard, stop and search is the most common form of adversarial contact with the public.

PSNI state the powers are ‘an operational tool used to prevent, detect and investigate crime as well as to bring offenders to justice’. Yet empirical evidence demonstrates stop and search has a minimal – and in some cases negligible – effect on the prevention or detection of crime. This can be read in conjunction with policy shifts which have resulted in a 70% drop in use of the powers over the past five years in England/Wales – which encompasses a 16% arrest rate. For PSNI, the average arrest rate sits at 6%, with 8 out of their 11 districts below that level. It is also notable that children (17 and under) remain a significant focus of the powers. Between 2010/11 – 2016/17, over 28,000 children have been subject to stop and search, with 15-17-year-old males five times more likely to be stopped proportional to numbers in the population. Lack of public data also means PSNI’s use of stop and search, in terms of compliance with section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 or their own Code of Ethics remains difficult to ascertain. Focused primarily on PACE-type powers, this presentation explores the key issues surrounding PSNI’s use of stop and search, raising questions related to use and oversight for all the policing institutions in the country.

2.25pm - Dr Taiwo Oriola (Ulster) - Criminalising Revenge Porn in Northern Ireland: Laws and Lessons from England and Wales and other Common Law Jurisdictions.

Revenge pornography encapsulates the act of online distribution or publication of sexually explicit private images or films of an ex-girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner, without their consent; with a view to humiliating or causing distress for a perceived wrong or slight.

Whilst revenge pornography predates the Internet, the ubiquitous Internet, the social media and the proliferation of mobile digital devices for capturing intimate images, have been previously found to exacerbate the problem. The epidemics of revenge pornography led to its criminalisation in England and Wales in April 2015, via sections 33-35 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015; and subsequently in Northern Ireland in February 2016, via sections 50-53 of the Justice Act, Northern Ireland 2016. The criminalisation of revenge porn helped highlight the seriousness of the problem, and led to successful prosecution of 206 people in England and Wales within a year of the enactment of the Criminal Justice Act 2015. In Northern Ireland, there is as yet, no reported prosecution for revenge pornography under sections 50-53 of the Justice Act 2016. However, in 2016, two revenge pornography cases were heard by the Queen’s Bench Division of Belfast High Court, in which the plaintiffs sought civil remedies. (AY a minor acting as next friend v. Facebook (Ireland Limited & others, [2016] NIQB 76; and MM v. BC, RS and Facebook Ireland Limited, [2016] NIQB 60).

Whilst drawing on legislative and judicial responses to revenge pornography in England and Wales and other common law jurisdictions, this presentation reviews the provisions of sections 50-53 of the Justice Act 2016, and highlights civil remedies that could be available to victims of revenge pornography. Also, the presentation explores the legal responsibility of social media platforms, and the extent to which technical measures could be deployed alongside existing legal measures to combat online revenge pornography.

2.45pm – Discussion

3.15pm – RaISe - Closing Remarks

3.20pm – Networking and Refreshments

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Date and Time

Location

Long Gallery

Parliament Buildings

Stormont

BT4 3XX

United Kingdom

View Map

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