Re McGuinness (Atttorney General for Northern Ireland intervening) [2020] 3 All ER 827

“This case related to a serving prisoner who, as a member of the Ulster Defence Association, had been guilty of one of the most notorious atrocities during ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, when he had murdered three people and attempted to murder many more at an IRA funeral in Belfast. Having been sentenced to life imprisonment, he was one of those released early under the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement but had then engaged in further terrorist activity and been returned to prison. This case arose from a judicial review brought by the sister of one of his victims, challenging the decision of the Northern Ireland Prison Service that the six years he had spent on release on licence counted towards the calculation of his minimum tariff period, after which he would be eligible for parole. A question arose whether the judgment of the Queen’s Bench Divisional Court of Northern Ireland was given in a criminal cause or matter, resulting in a direct route of appeal to the Supreme Court or whether the appeal was to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). It prompted the Supreme Court to review the historical development of the appellate jurisdiction in criminal cases and to formulate a clear test of when proceedings in the High Court will be characterised as being ‘in a criminal cause or matter’ ...”

ADDED Wednesday 25th November 2020