The Lawyers, Conflict and Transition team have recently published four articles that draw directly and indirectly on our international comparative field research.
The first by Anna Bryson is titled ‘Victims, Violence and Voice: Transitional Justice, Oral History and Dealing with the Past‘. Drawing on both our interviews with lawyers and her own previous research in Northern Ireland it explores the ethical dimensions of sensitive field research. Concentrating in particular on initiatives that purport to be “victim-centered” it seeks to draw out the theoretical and practical intersections between law, history, and the interview.
A further set of three articles reflects ongoing work by three members of the Lawyers, Conflict and Transition team on Dealing with the Past issues in Northern Ireland.
Since 2014 Kieran McEvoy and Anna Bryson from QUB and Louise Mallinder from Ulster University have been working in partnership with staff of the Committee on the Administration of Justice and a former senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office lawyer to develop a Model Bill for the Dealing with the Past elements of the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.
From 2014 onwards the developing drafts were discussed in the course of more than twenty detailed face-to-face meetings with senior British and Irish officials (involved in both the political negotiations and the preparation of their respective legislation in either jurisdiction on the past), senior politicians from across the political spectrum and a wide range of local civil society organisations.
Once completed, the Model Bill was formally launched at an event at the House of Lords sponsored by former NIO Minister Lord Dubbs in October 2015 and addressed by Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary of State Vernon Coker amongst others. It was also widely publicised through the local print and broadcast media, at a number of major conferences in Belfast, and a range of seminars and briefings aimed at civil society organisations and political parties.
The full Model Bill, together with an explanatory framework and an analysis of the process of ‘legislating the past “from below”‘ was recently published in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly.