2 February 2017
Sometimes, in law as in life, keeping things simple is the best approach. Unfortunately for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (‘PSNI’), the Supreme Court found in DB v Chief Constable of PSNI  UKSC 7 that the Force had made both the law and its life, in policing parades in Belfast, more complicated than it needed to be.
This appeal from a judicial review decision was all about the PSNI’s powers, and its understanding of its own powers, to police illegal parades in Belfast. Fittingly, the judgement was delivered by Lord Kerr, Northern Ireland’s former Lord Chief Justice, who (as Wikipedia reliably tells me) is an alumni of Queen’s University, Belfast. The underlying facts will be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in the knock-about politics of Northern Ireland and they drew on those most pressing of issues there: parades and flags.
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