Department statement on High Court judgment

Date published: 14 October 2021

The Department of Health notes the High Court ruling issued today by Mr Justice Colton.

The Department of Health will take the necessary time to consider today’s court ruling in detail.

 The Department and Minister have received clear legal advice that NI Executive approval is required on the commissioning of abortion services.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Colton states that “the Department has confirmed its commitment to undertake and complete the task of commissioning services to comply with the 2020 Regulations in accordance with the mandatory statutory proceedings governing commissioning. 

“It recognises that this will inevitably take some time. It will further be constrained by the fact that ultimately the Executive Committee will have to agree to the commissioning proposals when complete. This is because the introduction of any new service would require Executive approval, in accordance with sections 20 and 28A of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Ministerial Code contained in the Act.  I should add that none of the parties in this application disputed this contention.  For the purposes of these proceedings the court has proceeded on the basis that this is an accurate statement of the law.”

Notes to editors: 

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