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Barrister Profile

STEPHEN RITCHIE

Year of Call: 1978

Main Areas of Practice

Coroners or Inquests
Employment Law
Extradition
Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution

Biography

In 39 years at the Bar I have practised in most areas of law and currently the focus of my practice is civil litigation, employment and coronial and extradition law. In my extradition practice I act for the foreign issuing judicial authorities who are seeking the surrender of persons for the purpose of either prosecution or to serve a sentence already imposed. The challenges made by defendants nearly always involve human rights arguments. I have appeared before a Divisional Court in most of the leading reported cases in this area in recent years.

In 2013 in employment law I represented a successful respondent before the Court of Appeal in a TUPE case where the appellants failed because of illegality in the performance of their contracts of employment.

Having trained as a mediator I have been involved in giving a series of talks to local solicitors’ associations throughout Northern Ireland to promote the Bar Mediation Service and have acted as mediator in cases in the areas of defamation, employment, commercial and land disputes.

I am a member of the Advocacy Training Board, having been involved in the training of newly called barristers in advocacy skills since 1999.

I have trained as an advanced advocate and am currently involved in developing advanced advocacy courses for the Bar in general.

In November 2015 I was appointed to the panel of Coroner’s Counsel.

In November 2016 I was appointed to the Special Advocate Panel by the Advocate General for Northern Ireland.

In August 2017 I was appointed to the Government A Panel.

Qualifications

1977; LL.B (Hons) Queen’s University, Belfast

1978; Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland

1997; Called to the Bar of Ireland

1999; Advocacy trainer

Member of the Crown A Panel

2004; Mediation dispute resolution training with SLS

2012; Mediation dispute resolution training with Core Solutions

2014; Family mediation dispute resolution training with QuEST.

Experience

In recent years I have appeared regularly before superior courts and tribunals in personal injury, extradition and employment cases. I have also appeared in two recent ‘legacy’ inquests - McShane and Mallon - and hold briefs in a number of others that are due to be heard soon.

F P McCann Limited v Ballymoney Borough Council; in re case stated: 300/99 FET (06-FEB-2003) - Fair employment tribunal; Fair employment; Religious discrimination; Political discrimination; Unlawful discrimination

Fleming, Malachy v Halus, Kevin & others [2003] NIFET 174 98 (10-FEB-2003) - Fair employment tribunal; Harassment; Compensation; Religious discrimination.

Kingdom of Spain v Arteaga, Arturo Villanueva [2010] NIQB 23; [2010] NI 169 (24-FEB-2010) - Extradition; European arrest warrant; requirement for European arrest warrant to specify particulars of circumstances of alleged offence.

De Juana Chaos, Jose Ignacio v Kingdom of Spain [2010] NIQB 68; [2010] NI 264 (02-JUN-2010) - Bail; revocation of bail; jurisdiction; bail during extradition proceedings; bailee failing to surrender in breach of order by appropriate judge; whether High Court having inherent jurisdiction to revoke bail.

De Juana Chaos, Jose Ignacio v Kingdom of Spain [2012] NIQB 32; [2013] NI 71 (03-MAY-2012) - Extradition; European arrest warrant; validity; Spain issuing European arrest warrant for extradition of appellant in respect of public justification of terrorist acts; appellant absconding in breach of bail order after instructing solicitors on appeal; whether fact of appellant absconding in breach of bail order itself ground for court to dismiss appeal without hearing on its merits.

Strojwas, Piotr; in re application for bail [2012] NIQB 53; [2013] NIJB 262 - Applicant Polish national applying for bail; extradition proceedings; applicant refused bail by designated judge; whether where statute has expressly conferred on another court power to grant, refuse and reconsider bail the invocation of the inherent jurisdiction of the High court will normally be inappropriate.

Lithuania v Campbell, Liam [2013] NIQB 19 (22-FEB-2013) - Appeal by Republic of Lithuania seeking extradition of Liam Campbell on suspicion of involvement in terrorist offences on foot of European Arrest Warrant; whether judge’s conclusion that extradition of requested person would be incompatible with his Article 3 rights unassailable.

McGlinchey, Gavin & ors v McGurk, Colm Joseph & anor t/a McGurk and Moore & another [2014] NICA 3 (09-JAN-2014) - Appeal by nine claimants from decision of an industrial tribunal; tribunal concluding in six of the cases that claim should be dismissed on basis that contracts tainted by illegality; employees not previously issued with written terms and conditions, pay slips or P60s; payroll records disclosing inconsistencies in pay; overtime paid in cash; time off in lieu; consideration of the relevant law on illegality; credibility of witnesses; whether appellants aware of illegality.

Michelena, Fermin Vila v The Kingdom of Spain [2014] NICA 38 Extradition – Bars to extradition – Human rights – Right to fair trial – Evidence adduced by torture – Appellant arrested on foot of European arrest warrants alleging terrorism-related offences in Spain – Appellant alleging that evidence against him given by co-accused extracted by torture and/or inhuman or degrading treatment – Appellant alleging that his access to lawyers would be restricted and that lawyers who raised allegation of torture were themselves at risk of adverse consequences – Whether evidence raised by appellant sufficient to prove substantial grounds for believing that he was a substantial risk of not having fair trial – Whether appellant’s allegations could be substantiated.

Proberkas, Eimantas v Klaipeda Circuit Court, Lithuania [2015] NICA 32 - Extradition – Person convicted – Conviction in person’s absence – Activation of suspended sentence – Suspension on custodial sentence revoked following offender’s failure to fulfil certain obligations imposed by court – Offender not advised of date of activation hearing – Power to revoke suspension triggered by offender’s failure to comply with penal sanction – Whether activation of suspended sentence was a conviction – Extradition Act 2003, s 20