McGuinness, Re Application for Judicial Review (No 2): SC 19 Feb 2020

The claimant challenged the calculation of the release date from prison after conviction of MS of the murder of her husband. The AG also argued that the proper appeal was to the Court of Appeal from Northern Ireland and not the Supreme Court.
Held: The proceedings did not amount to a ‘criminal cause or matter’ and therefore the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. An appeal to the Supreme Court is only possible if a point of law of general public importance is certified. In contrast, in all other cases appeal rights from the High Court to the Court of Appeal are directed to ensuring that errors at first instance in individual cases can be rectified. No showing of public importance is required.


Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Sales


[2020] UKSC 6, [2021] AC 392, [2021] Crim LR 397, [2020] NI 324, [2020] 3 All ER 827, [2020] 2 WLR 510


Bailii, Bailii Summary


Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 41(1)


Northern Ireland


Appeal fromMcGuinness v Department of Justice QBNI 15-Jan-2019
Whether the assessment on the part of the Respondent, the Department of Justice (‘the Department’), that by July 2018 Michael Stone (hereinafter ‘the prisoner/Mr Stone’), a convicted murderer of some notoriety sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988 . .
CitedBelhaj and Another v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another SC 4-Jul-2018
Challenge to decision not to prosecute senior Intelligence Service officials for alleged offences in connection with his unlawful rendition and mistreatment in Libya. The issue here was whether on the hearing of the application for judicial review, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Prisons, Litigation Practice

Updated: 21 January 2023; Ref: scu.648172