Northern Ireland update – Consultation time extended at request of victims and survivors groups

Senior civil servant David Sterling has confirmed that The Executive Office has listened to requests from victims and survivors for an extension to the time allowed for responses during the consultation period on the draft legislation, following recommendations from the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry.The Implementation Team was set up to consider the recommendations’ proposed legislation on 19 November 2018, for consultation in line with the recommendations made in the Hart Report in January 2017 to establish:

  • a Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse
  • a Redress Board and
  • a compensation scheme.

The time for consultation was set to expire on the 10 February 2019.  However after representations were made, the time for consultation has been extended until March 10 2019.

When the consultation process is complete, it will be for Ministers to consider and take forward the proposed legislation.  It is unclear how this will be handled while there is no working Executive in Northern Ireland.  However,  a recent suggestion that Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, may be planning to legislate for further powers to be granted, allowing  her to appoint people to positions reserved for the Executive such as the re-appointment of the Attorney General, has been seen as a potential indicator that she may deal with this legislation in the same way.

David Sterling said: “I remain committed to moving to implementation, as quickly as possible, once Ministers have taken the necessary decisions.”


Author Fintan Canavan, partner

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