Regina v Chief Constable of The Royal Ulster Constabulary Ex Parte Begley; Regina v McWilliams: HL 24 Jul 1997

There is no right at common law to have a solicitor present during a police interview. There was no infringement of the suspect’s human rights by the Northern Ireland Rules. The House discussed its ability to take the law forward: ‘It is true that the House has a power to develop the law. But it is a limited power. And it can be exercised only in the gaps left by Parliament. It is impermissible for the House to develop the law in a direction which is contrary to the expressed will of Parliament.’


Lord Browne-Wilkinson


Gazette 05-Nov-1997, Times 20-Oct-1997, [1997] NI 278, [1997] UKHL 39, [1997] 4 All ER 833, [1997] 1 WLR 1475


House of Lords, Bailii


Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (1989 no 134)


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedCullen v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (Northern Ireland) HL 10-Jul-2003
The claimant had been arrested. He had been refused access to a solicitor whilst detaiined, but, in breach of statutory duty, he had not been given reasons as to why access was denied. He sought damages for that failure.
Held: If damages were . .
CitedIn re McKerr (Northern Ireland) HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had been shot by soldiers of the British Army whilst in a car in Northern Ireland. The car was alleged to have ‘run’ a checkpoint. The claimants said the investigation, now 20 years ago, had been inadequate. The claim was brought under . .
CitedAlexander Von Starck v The Queen PC 28-Feb-2000
(Jamaica) The defendant had fatally stabbed a woman. On arrest, he admitted killing her and that he had the knife which he had used to do so. He gave the police officer a pouch containing a knife, on which blood of the same group as that of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Police, Northern Ireland, Human Rights

Updated: 23 May 2022; Ref: scu.135212