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Barrister Profile

LM

LAURA MCMAHON

Year of Call: 2005

Main Areas of Practice

Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Coroners or Inquests
Human Rights
Public Inquiries

Biography

Qualifications

LL.B (First Class) LL.M Human Rights Law (Distinction)

2003; Barrister of the Middle Temple, London

2005; Barrister of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland

2012; present; Member of the Government Civil Panel A

2016; present; Member of the Coroners Panel of Counsel

2016; Developed Vetted (“DV”)

2018; Advocacy Training Board Pupil Foundation Training (Qualified Master)

Experience

EXPERIENCE - (selection)

Public Inquiries

Renewable Heat Inquiry (“RHI”) [2017-2018]

Representation of senior Civil Servant at the Inquiry.

UK Supreme Court

McLaughlin, Siobhan; in re application for judicial review [2018] UKSC 48

Challenge to the non-payment of welfare benefits to surviving partner and children solely on the basis that the applicant and the deceased were unmarried. Declaration of Incompatibility made.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; in re and in re the law on termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland [2018] UKSC 27 and [2013] NICA 37

Representing the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in a challenge to the law on termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland, which prevents access to such termination in cases of serious foetal abnormality, rape and incest. Finding that Commission lacked standing so no Declaration possible; however, Article 8 deemed violated on the three areas of challenge.

Court of Appeal

Close, Grainne & others; in re application for judicial review [2018]

Appeal challenging the legislative bar on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Awaiting Court of Appeal judgment.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People; in re application for judicial review [2007] NIQB 115 and on appeal [2009] NICA 10

Representing the Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner (NICCY) in the Court of Appeal and the Court below in an attempt to have the legislative and common-law defence of reasonable chastisement ruled contrary to the rights of children.

Attorney General for Northern Ireland & another v Senior Coroner for Northern Ireland [2013] NICA 68

Written intervention on behalf of the Royal College of Midwives informing the challenge by the AG of the Senior Coroner’s refusal to conduct an inquest into a stillbirth.

Breslin and others v McKenna & others (Omagh bombing case) [2013] NICA 75

Omagh bomb civil action.

High Court

JR76 [2018]

Challenge to the decision to prosecute the mother on the basis she provided abortifacient medication to her 15-year-old daughter; written submissions on behalf of the provider of the medication “Women on the Web”.

Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Trust; in re application for judicial review [2014] NIQB 49

Challenge (i) to the decision of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Trust (“the Trust”) to exercise its powers under Art 52 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 (“the 1986 Order”) to remove a child from the care of her mother, (ii) to the manner in which such removal was effected specifically as regards to the failure to consult with affected parties before the removal.

McLean, Jamie Lee; in re application for judicial review [2014] NIQB 33

Challenge against the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to fees imposed by them on the applicant for alleged damage to a gas meter, notwithstanding no culpability on the part of the applicant alleged.

McLarnon, Michael & another; in re application for judicial review [2013] NIQB 40

Challenge to the provisions of the Magistrate’s Court Order relating to non-payment of fines, the previous outworking of which resulted in imprisonment for non-payment of fines without recourse to the Court to explain any chance in circumstances in the intervening period between fine and imprisonment. This challenge resulted in a The Magistrates’ Courts (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2014. These Rules amend the Magistrates’ Courts Rules (NI) 1984 to prescribe a procedure for notifying a person of a Fine Default Hearing at which the court will consider the exercise of its powers under Article 92 of the Magistrates’ Courts (NI) Order 1981 in respect of the enforcement of a sum adjudged to be paid on conviction.

Inquest touching on the death of Baby J [2013]

Challenge to the recorded cause of death as due to sudden infant death due to overlying of the infant to one of sudden infant death due to unknown causes.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; in re application for judicial review and in re a challenge to the Adoption Order (NI) [2012] NIQB 77 and [2013] NICA 37

Challenge to the adoption legislation in Northern Ireland which prevented unmarried and gay couples, as well as couples in a civil partnership, from adopting. Declaration made by the Court that the current legislation breaches the Article 8 & Article 14 rights of unmarried persons and gay and lesbian couples. Declaration that all persons, whether married, unmarried, single, gay or lesbian or in civil partnerships are eligible to apply adopt a child.

WM (a minor) & another; in re application for judicial review [2011] NIQB 105

Successful challenge to the Housing Selection Scheme in Northern Ireland as it pertains to children, the Court having found: (a) that Article 8 of the ECHR does apply to housing selection schemes, and (b) that decisions made by parents as a result of the particular circumstances of their child should not automatically serve to fulfil the criteria of “intentional homelessness”.

McMillen, Robert (Chairman of Board of Governors of Ballyclare High School); in re application for judicial review [2008] NIQB 21

Representing the Children’s Commissioner (NICCY) as interveners in an action challenging uniform and dress codes at a school and a child’s right to participate in matters affecting them.

Christian Institute & others; in re application for judicial review [2007] NIQB 66

Representing the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (“NIHRC”) as interveners in a case taken by various Christian groups challenging the introduction of the Sexual Orientation legislation in Northern Ireland.

Coroners Court

Nathan Gault and Debbie Whyte [2018]

Counsel for the Coroner in the inquest into the deaths of two school children knocked down and killed on their way home from school; File sent to DPP.

Inquest into the death of Thompson, Kathleen [2017] - Ongoing

– Counsel for the Coroner in the inquest into the death of Mrs Thompson, who was shot and killed in Derry in November 1971.

Ballymurphy inquest - Ongoing

Inquest into the deaths of ten people killed during the introduction of internment in Northern Ireland in August 1971. Representing the Next of Kin of Mr Joseph Murphy. Successful application made to exhume Mr Murphy, the first exhumation of a victim of the conflict in Northern Ireland made pursuant to the ordering of a new inquest by the Attorney General for NI. Inquest ongoing.

Inquest touching the death of Baby J [2013]

Successful challenge to the recorded cause of death as due to sudden infant death due to overlying of the infant to one of sudden infant death due to unknown causes.

Inquest into the death of soldiers killed in Afghanistan [2011] (Unreported)

Representing the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (“NIHRC”) at an inquest into the killing of three soldiers by a member of the Afghan National Army. Successful submissions made regarding theapplicability of Article 1/Article 2 of the ECHR within the context of the killings on “foreign soil”.

Extradition

Federal Public Prosecutor of Germany v McAliskey, Roisin [2007] NICty 1

Challenge to extradition to Germany; representation of minors.