Recent developments in Northern Ireland have correctly been described as historic. While the future of constitutional change is by no means certain,events merit close scrutiny. The Good Friday Agreement 1998 marked a significant departure from incrementalism and thus with the dominant logic of British constitutionalism. The Agreement is in essence a constitutional promise anchored in clear normative principles. Although several aspects of the Agreement are in operation there is no guarantee that this new form of constitutionalism will work. However, the foundations of the settlement are clear. The building blocks reflect a strong commitment to human rights, equality and democratic renewal which encompasses a multiplicity of overlapping relationships. This book examines several key aspects of this complex picture. Developments in Northern Ireland have attracted a large measure of international interest. Reflecting this the contributors demonstrate the links to current controversies in constitutional and human rights law scholarship.
At a time when there is much consideration of constitutional change in the UK and beyond, the intention is to offer a collection that both describes the changing legal and political landscape in Northern Ireland and one which provides a significant contribution to current debates on constitutionalism.
Colin Harvey is Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Centre at the Queen's University,Belfast.
Northern Ireland in transition - an introduction, Colin J. Harvey; the new beginning - reconstructing constitutional law and democracy in Northern Ireland, Colin J. Harvey; Northern Ireland, devolution and the European Union, Gordon Anthony and Andrew Evans; equality, Christopher McCrudden; building a human rights culture in a political democracy - the role of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Colin J. Harvey; and justice for all? the judiciary and the legal profession in transition, Stephen Livingstone; shaping the future of criminal justice, John Jackson; a new beginning for policing in Northern Ireland, Linda Moore and Mary O'Rawe; human rights, humanitarian interventions and paramilitary activities in Northern Ireland, Kieran McEvoy; democracy, governance and governmentality - the role of the voluntary sector in the democratic renewal of Northern Ireland, John Morison.