Northern Ireland

Stormont deadlock: NI judges 'press on with legal reforms'

Sir Declan Morgan Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Sir Declan Morgan is the lord chief justice for Northern Ireland

The lord chief justice of Northern Ireland has said that judges are pressing ahead with legal reforms in the absence of the Stormont assembly.

Sir Declan Morgan met with political party representatives and other members of the judiciary on Friday afternoon.

He offered them a briefing on judicial reforms and developments in criminal, civil and legacy business.

The assembly collapsed in 2017 amid a bitter row between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Among issues discussed at the High Court meeting were legacy inquests, sentencing, court technology, vulnerable witnesses and victims, family justice and media in court.

Sir Declan said he had called the meeting in the absence of a justice committee and functioning assembly.

"Despite there being no functioning assembly, where possible, and where appropriate, judges have taken the initiative to introduce reforms on a wide range of issues relating to the justice system," he said.

"I have always said judicial independence does not mean judicial isolation and I am looking forward to meaningfully engaging with the political parties in relation to these reforms and developments this afternoon.

"My judges and I are happy to take this opportunity to discuss these reforms with the political parties, and also highlight areas where we consider reforms are not possible due to the need for primary legislation."

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