A summary of the speech made by David Ford, Minister of Justice for Northern Ireland, at our conference on Monday 23 March is now available on the Department of Justice for Northern Ireland website.
The Justice Minister spoke about the particular way criminal justice has developed in Northern Ireland since the devolution of justice responsibilities in 2010.
He highlighted the many benefits of devolution:
- accountability to the people of Northern Ireland through the Assembly and the Justice Committee;
- opportunities to develop solutions to probelsm specific to Norther Ireland;
- and, ensuring local partneship working assists in policy development and operational delivery.
The Minister also talked about the role of criminal justice in promoting sustainable community cohesion in Northern Ireland. Developing a political consensus for dealing with the past has been a key part of this, and Mr Ford said he is optimistic about the capacity of the Stormont House Agreement of 2014 to achieve this.
The Minister went on to talk about specific areas of criminal justice that had been developed over his time in office.
Whilst drawing attention to the similarities between the separate UK jurisdictions and the need for knowledge sharing, he also highlighted the necessary policy divergence that devolution has allowed:
'Devolution of justice has been an enabler, allowing us to deliver local solutions through reflection on developments elesewhere. Cut and paste policy has gone.'
You can read our report The coalition years which explains criminal justice developments across the UK since 2010. Our Director Richard Garside will also be talking about the report at events in Edinburgh on 22 April and Liverpool on 29 April.